Justice for Holocaust survivors

The Holocaust was the greatest calamity to befall the Jewish People since the destruction of the Second Temple

May 28, 2019 14:47
4 minute read.
Justice for Holocaust survivors

. (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)

The Holocaust was the greatest calamity to befall the Jewish People since the destruction of the Second Temple more than 2,000 years ago. Today, there are Holocaust survivors who vividly remember the horrors they went through. Many of them are eligible for monetary compensation from Germany and Austria. Those who worked for wages in the areas under German occupation during WW II may also be eligible for monthly pension payments, as well as a lump sum in lieu of monthly payments that went unpaid. If a survivor is deceased and at the time of death had accumulated pension payments, his heirs recognized by German law as such, can inherit the money. 
It is believed that most Holocaust survivors and their descendants live in Israel. Some 100,000 of them indeed reside in Israel. Nevertheless there are Holocaust survivors in other parts of the world as well. According to rough estimates, about 100,000 reside in the US. Many of them may not be aware of their rights under German pension law. Therefore, it is highly advisable for Holocaust survivors or their children and grandchildren to make an effort to verify if they are eligible. Holocaust survivors who worked during WW II maybe entitled to a German pension.

David Yadid is the founder and senior managing partner of the David Yadid Law Office & Notary, a reputable Israeli firm that is well known for representing Holocaust survivors. He says, “There are many Holocaust survivors residing in the US who have not taken advantage of the German pensions that are due them and their descendants, due to lack of knowledge or other reasons. These pensions are retroactive and can add up to sizeable sums. I had cases in which the accumulated pensions of Holocaust survivors amounted to $100,000 and more. I want to point out that Holocaust survivors whose requests were denied appealed the decision, and we won those cases as well.”
One such example were the Jews who lived in Nalchik, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Kabardino-Balkaria. Their request was refused because the area had been occupied by the German army for only two months. However, during those two months, they were maltreated, worked for meager wages, were beaten and generally ill-treated.
Yadid recounts, “Our office recognized that an injustice had been done, and we took it upon ourselves to have the refusal revoked. It took time, in-depth research, a lot of litigation and lobbying, multiple appeals that took us to the high court in Jerusalem. In the end, our hard work was rewarded, and the decision not to recognize them as Holocaust survivors was revoked. They currently receive a monthly average payment of NIS 2,250 from Israel and an average monthly payment of 250 euros from Germany. They also received a lump sum of about NIS 70,000 from Israel and 10,000 euros from Germany.”
Most Holocaust survivors that are not Israeli residents may be eligible to receive compensation for their suffering from Germany and Austria through the Claims Conference, the body recognized by the governments of Israel and Germany as the representative of world Jewry in its claims against Germany for compensation for the victims of Nazi persecution. These victims can also receive an extra compensation from the ZRBG. The Claims Conference is relatively well known; the ZRBG, much less so. The ZRBG is the pension plan of Germany. By law, it pays pensions to all German citizens or to all those who have been employed in Germany whose employers made regular monthly social security payments to the state.
By special arrangement, the ZRBG agreed to pay pensions to Jews who were employed in lieu of wages during WW II in areas under the sway of Nazi Germany. In this context, wages are very fluid. They could include meagre monetary payments or payment in kind such as bread, margarine and potatoes. The employers never paid social security payments to Germany’s pension fund as they should have.
In retrospect, the German courts decided that such an omission was illegal and therefore Germany would pay the social security payments that had been due. This decision allowed the ZRBG to pay pensions to Holocaust survivors. Because of the litigation process on the issue, the ZRBG only started paying out monthly payments in 2009, but it agreed to make retroactive payments that were due. That is why some survivors received hefty lump sums.
Since a large number of Holocaust survivors immigrated to North America after the war, the number of those eligible for ZRBG pension payments may well be large. If eligible, the survivors are entitled to a monthly pension whose size varies according to the amount of time they worked for the Germans, their level of education, the type of work done and other similar criteria.
The lump sum paid can be large or small. For example, a highly trained doctor who worked for the Germans from more or less the moment Poland was invaded in September 1939 and worked until 1944 when Poland was freed by the Soviets would have worked for five years in a position potentially highly paid, so his accumulated pension payments would have been high.
If, in contrast, an unskilled Hungarian had worked for the Germans cleaning barracks from the summer of 1944 when the Germans took over Hungary to March 1945 when Budapest fell to the Russians, his accumulated pension would have been much less. He worked for only nine months in a potentially badly paid job, which was more or less suited to his educational level.
Since there are lengthy bureaucratic issues involved, those who believe they are eligible for a German pension should hire the services of a reputable law firm that specializes in such matters to check their eligibility and initiate the process.
Yadid Law & Notary

Written in cooperation with: https://www.mishpati.co.il

Related Content

August 15, 2019
7 Benefits Of Using an Essay Writing Service


Cookie Settings