Rights of Holocaust survivors continue to be updated

Even now, 77 years since the end of the Second World War, we are fortunate to witness new revisions and developments to the rights of Holocaust survivors, especially over the past 2,5 years.

 VIEW OF a train car and screen display at the site of Auschwitz-Birkenau during ceremonies marking the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the camp and International Holocaust Remembrance Day last week. (photo credit: Jakub Porzycki/Agencja Wyborcza/Reuters)
VIEW OF a train car and screen display at the site of Auschwitz-Birkenau during ceremonies marking the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the camp and International Holocaust Remembrance Day last week.
(photo credit: Jakub Porzycki/Agencja Wyborcza/Reuters)

On the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day which was marked last week, approximately 168,000 Holocaust survivors were living in Israel and, absurdly, a large number of them do not have the quality of life they so obviously deserve. At their advanced age, Holocaust survivors are facing health problems caused by, among other factors, the horrors they experienced at the hands of the Nazis. The trauma inflicted on them has left them physically and mentally scarred, so exercising the financial rights and benefits due to them by law from various organizations in Israel and around the world is crucial to them and will contribute to improving their lives.

Even now, 77 years since the end of the Second World War, we are fortunate to witness new revisions and developments to the rights of Holocaust survivors, especially over the past two and a half years, which if exercised will allow them to live a quality, dignified life. For example, over the last two and a half years, Germany has recognized approximately 50 Romanian and Bulgarian cities as Open Ghettos; in August 2021, the Claims Conference initiated a new grant to Holocaust survivors present during the siege of Leningrad or who were present on Romanian land, and criteria were expanded to recognize those who were in open hiding in France. For thousands of Holocaust survivors, this represents a remedy for a historical injustice and an acknowledgment of the suffering they have undergone, as well as material allowances and grants that have been made available to them now.
The Aviv for Holocaust Survivors NGO was founded in Israel approximately 15 years ago out of a profound commitment to aid Holocaust survivors in the full utilization of their rights and to help them lead a quality, dignified life. The organization’s legal rights consultants assist Holocaust survivors in exercising the entirety of their rights in Israel and around the world, at no cost to them.
To mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Aviv for Holocaust Survivors presents the most up-to-date rights from organizations around the world of Holocaust survivors who are citizens of Israel. Article 2 Fund’s grant, totaling €1,800 (€600 on a monthly basis), paid once every 3 months, is granted to Holocaust survivors who spent time in camps, ghettos, hiding or under a false identity and who do not receive a monthly health grant funded by Germany. Those who were fetuses in the womb while their mothers were persecuted in any of the manners listed above may be eligible to receive the grant. Holocaust survivors receiving this grant who are residents and citizens of Israel are entitled to monthly supplementary payment from the Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority, up to a sum of NIS 2,554 (as of January 2022). This payment from the Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority varies in accordance with the medical and financial situation of the survivor.
An additional grant totaling €355 was added by the Claims Conference for specific areas applying to Holocaust survivors who spent at least 3 months under siege in Leningrad, were hiding for at least 3 months in France (including open hiding with access to the outside world), or spent at least 3 months between April 1, 1941, and August 31, 1944, on Romanian land, so long as they are not receiving any other monthly grant associated with their Holocaust-era persecution. Those who were fetuses in the womb while their mother was persecuted in any of the manners listed above may be eligible to receive the grant. Holocaust survivors receiving this grant who are residents and citizens of Israel are eligible for a supplementary payment from the Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority, starting at NIS 2,554 (as of January 2022). This payment from the Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority varies in accordance with the medical and financial situation of each survivor.
RENIA BAAF (later Renee Kochman) at the entrance gate of the children’s home in Blankenese, Hamburg, Germany, 1946. (credit: YAD VASHEM PHOTO ARCHIVES)RENIA BAAF (later Renee Kochman) at the entrance gate of the children’s home in Blankenese, Hamburg, Germany, 1946. (credit: YAD VASHEM PHOTO ARCHIVES)
Child Survivor Fund: A one-time grant totaling €2,500, applying to Holocaust survivors born after January 1, 1928, and before the end of persecution in the area in which they were located, and were persecuted as Jews in camps or ghettos (even for a single day) or under a false identity, or who were in hiding for a period of at least 4 months (the eligibility criteria set by the Claims Conference for Hiding or False Identity are extremely specific and not every location survivors were in hiding or living under a false identity is recognized for these purposes). Grant requests are submitted to the Claims Conference. 
Grants for Kindertransport Children: A one-time €2,500 grant, distributed since January 2019, to Holocaust survivors who were under the age of 21, separated from their parents and sent away from Germany and countries annexed to it in or occupied at the time – in order to save them from the Nazis’ persecution. The transport ran between November 9, 1938, and September 1, 1939, or was approved by German authorities following November 9, 1938, but prior to September 1, 1939. Grant requests are submitted to the Claims Conference. 
The Hardship Fund: A one-time €2,556 grant. Survivors who meet the following aggregate criteria are eligible for this grant: Holocaust survivors who do not receive a monthly health grant and who did not receive past payment from the Hardship Fund, and so long as they experienced at least one of the following persecutions: Escaped from Nazi occupation, wore a yellow badge, lived under curfew or whose freedoms were restricted. Those who were fetuses in the womb while their mother was persecuted in any of the manners listed above may be eligible to receive the grant. 
Please note – beginning 2021, Holocaust survivors who do not receive a monthly health grant and who have been recognized as eligible for the Hardship Fund, are eligible for a semiannual grant from the Claims Conference totaling €2,400, for the years 2021-2022. This benefit only applies until the end of 2022. 
Germany: The German Compensation Fund for Work in Ghetto (BADV): A onetime payment totaling €2,000 from the German government, applying to anyone held in a closed or open ghetto under the German regime, German annexation or in a German-influenced area, and who labored voluntarily and unforced so as to be given compensation, such as food or money. It is recommended that Holocaust survivors who have received this one-time compensation and have not submitted a request to receive a social allowance for labor in a ghetto should submit a claim to receive this grant.
Social allowance for labor performed in a ghetto (ZRBG): A monthly social allowance from Germany, applying to anyone who was held in a closed or open ghetto under the German regime, under German annexation or in a German-influenced area and who labored voluntarily and unforced, and received compensation such as food or money for their labor.
It is important to note that the list of ghettos is updated from time to time. For example, over the last two and a half years, 50 Romanian and Bulgarian cities have been added to the list, so that many Holocaust survivors of Romanian or Bulgarian descent who were not previously eligible for this grant are now entitled to it. 
Poland: A monthly allowance of approximately €95. Eligible for this allowance are survivors born in Poland who were imprisoned in camps and ghettos or expelled to Siberia, as well as veterans who participated in the war for Poland’s independence. 
France: Compensation for French orphans involves a one-time grant by the French government totaling approximately €31,000 or a monthly allowance for the duration of their lifetime, totaling approximately €600 a month. Those eligible are anyone who had one of their parents expelled from France due to antisemitic persecution during the occupation and this parent passed away during their deportation or was a casualty in France due to persecution, and who was at most 21 years old at the time of their parent’s expulsion. 
Current grants available in Israel and overseas can be found in detail on the website of Aviv for Holocaust Survivors. For legal assistance from the organization’s staff free of charge, contact the call center:*5711.
The writer is CEO of Aviv for Holocaust Survivors.