Allied US troops stream up from landing boats and set off inland from Surcouf in Algeria during the Second World War II, 8 November 1942.
(photo credit: AFP PHOTO)
Jews of Algerian origin who survived the Holocaust will for the first time be eligible for compensation from the German government, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany announced on Monday.
It is estimated that some 25,000 Algerian Jewish Holocaust survivors are living around the world, including approximately 3,900 in Israel and 20,000 in France.
Jews who resided in Algeria between July 1940 and November 1942 and suffered from Nazi persecution may now be eligible for a onetime payment of €2,556.46 ($3,200) through the Claims Conference Hardship Fund.
“This is a long-overdue recognition for a large group of Jews in Algeria who suffered anti-Jewish measures by Nazi allies like the Vichy regime,” said Greg Schneider, executive vice president of the Claims Conference. “The Vichy government subjected these people to restrictions on education, political life, participation in civil society and employment, abolishing French citizenship and singling them out only because they were Jews.”
The decision is the fruit of several years of negotiations and, according to Schneider, this is likely the last large group of Holocaust survivors to be recognized.
Ruediger Mahlo, the Claims Conference representative in Germany, said: “This payment is a small measure of the justice these survivors deserve, but the recognition is important and we will continue to fight until every survivor has been recognized.”
Schneider said the recognition was important, both on a psychological level for survivors who have suffered from trauma of Nazi persecution, and on a communal level.
On a communal level, he said, it’s important both in recording history and in combating Holocaust denial. “It says to the world: ‘This happened, we [Germany] caused this and we regret it so much we are willing to acknowledge it through a symbolic payment to those who are still alive,’” Schneider asserted.
The Claims Conference is opening a registration help center in Paris, where the largest group of Algerian survivors resides, to help survivors apply for compensation. The center will open in early February and is expected to stay open through April 2018. Services are free to all survivors, who may receive assistance via appointment, without requiring legal representation.
From Slavery to Freedom (Facebook/Claims Conference (Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany))
Satellite centers in Marseille, Lyon and Toulouse will also be opened during that time to assist survivors who may not be able to get to the center in Paris.
Letters will be sent to known Algerian survivors in other countries informing them of the change in their eligibility. Payments to those deemed eligible will start in July 2018.
To schedule an appointment at any of the Claims Conference registration help centers, visit www.fonds-ipa.fr.
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