Children evacuated from Germany on the Kindertransport in 1938/1939 are given candies in Southampton, England.
(photo credit: MAARIV)
An agreement has been negotiated between the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the German government for child survivors to receive compensation payments for the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport.
“Our team has never given up hope that the moment would come when we could make this historic announcement,” Julius Berman, president of the Claims Conference, announced on Monday.
The Kindertransport (German for “children’s transport”) was a rescue operation that brought more than 10,000 Jewish children under the age of 17 to Great Britain from Nazi Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and the Free City of Danzig between December 1938 and the outbreak of World War II on September 1, 1939.
Following Kristallnacht on November 9, 1938, the situation of Jews throughout the Third Reich worsened. An appeal was made to the prime minister of the United Kingdom, Neville Chamberlain, to allow unaccompanied Jewish children - without their parents - into Great Britain. Almost all of them – who were placed throughout Britain in homes, schools, and farms – were the only members of their families to survive the Holocaust.
“This payment comes at a time when we are commemorating 80 years since these children took their fateful journey from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia to Great Britain,” said Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, Claims Conference special negotiator. “After having to endure a life forever severed from their parents and families, no one can ever profess to make them whole; they are receiving a small measure of justice.”
Greg Schneider, executive vice president of the Claims Conference, said this is a time to take a moment to commemorate this recognition and sacrifice. “No one can imagine the pain on train platforms as the Kindertransports began
, and the extraordinary steps these parents took to give the opportunity for life to their children – a life those children led without mothers, without fathers, and in many cases, without family of any kind,” he said.
The Kindertransport Fund will be opened by the Claims Conference on January 1. As of that date, requests for compensation can be submitted for free, including in Israel, without the need for assistance from any agent or lawyer.
In the past, some Holocaust survivors received payment during the 1950s, but previous payments will not prevent those eligible to receive this new compensation. The criteria for receiving the compensation were determined by the German government.
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