'Germany ups funds for Shoah survivors'

Claims Conference says German officials promised to raise stipends for elderly survivors in e. Europe.

shoah survivors 248 88 (photo credit: Matthew Wagner)
shoah survivors 248 88
(photo credit: Matthew Wagner)
The Jewish Claims Conference said it won a promise Thursday from the German government to increase funding to elderly Holocaust survivors in eastern Europe. German officials promised to increase monthly payments from €178 ($235) to €240 ($315) for survivors in some of the poorest eastern European countries, such as Ukraine, said Roman Kent, a negotiator for the claims conference. Those in relatively wealthier eastern countries now in the European Union, such as Poland, will see their payments rise from €216 ($295) to €240 ($328), he said. Kent said the breakthrough came Thursday during meetings with representatives of Germany's Finance Ministry. He called it a "measure of some justice" for a group that often lives mired in poverty. The goal, he said, is to make the lives of the Nazi victims, most of whom are now in their 80s or 90s "a little easier in the twilight of their lives." Those living in impoverished parts of eastern Europe often lack food, medicine and even coal, wood or gas to heat their homes. In many case, they lost siblings or other relatives in the Holocaust, and lack family support, he said. Attempts by The Associated Press to reach the Finance Ministry by phone for comment went unanswered late Thursday.