Some 6,500 Holocaust survivors from various conflict zones in Europe will receive pensions from Germany for the first time, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) announced Tuesday.
Included in the new pension scheme are people who survived the Nazi siege of Leningrad, were in hiding in France or suffered persecution in Romania. Until now, they have not received pensions from the German government as other survivors have.
Of the 6,500 survivors to receive the pensions, about 4,500 survived the Nazi siege of Leningrad from 1941-1944 in which hundreds of thousands of civilians perished in air and artillery bombardment and from starvation due to the German blockade of the city.
About 800 survivors who hid from the Nazis and their collaborators in France are included in the new pension allocations, as well as some 1,200 who survived persecution in Romania during the Holocaust.
Of the recipients, 2,000 live in Russia, 1,600 in Israel and the remainder in the US, Germany, France and other countries.
“Every year these negotiations become more and more critical,” said Gideon Taylor, president of the Claims Conference. “As this last generation of survivors age, their needs increase. Even 75 years after the Holocaust, these symbolic payments provide recognition and restore a piece of the dignity taken from survivors in their youth.”
The newly negotiated region-specific pension program is now open and currently receiving applications.
Payments will be €375 ($443) per month. Child Survivor Fund payments, a symbolic one-time payment of €2,500 ($2,930), will also be paid to those who meet the persecution criteria and were born in 1928 or later, the Claims Conference said.
Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, the special negotiator for the Claims Conference negotiations delegation, said: “As special negotiator, I have a commitment to survivors to continue to achieve new and further measures of justice whenever possible.
“I am again pleased to see more survivors recognized by the German government for their unimaginable suffering. It has been my honor to sit alongside some of these survivors as we negotiate year over year for a continued measure of justice.”