By Donna Rachel Edmunds, World Israel News
Some 6,500 Holocaust survivors will be eligible to receive pensions from Germany for the first time, as the criteria for inclusion has been extended to cover those who survived persecution in Leningrad, Romania and France.
The payments were negotiated by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), who made the announcement Wednesday.
Jewish Nazi victims will be granted €375 ($443) per month if they were one of the 4,500 to survive three months or more of the Siege of Leningrad, which took place between 1941 and 1943.
A further 800 survivors who lived in hiding during the German occupation of France, including those who were able to emerge during the daytime, but hid at night when deportations took place, will also be able to claim the pension, as will some 1,200 who lived under the Axis occupation of Romania between April 1, 1941 and August 31, 1944.
Nearly a third of the new recipients currently live in Russia, and a further 1,200 in Israel, while the remainder are resident in the UK, France, and other countries.
Gideon Taylor, President of the Claims Conference said, “Every year these negotiations become more and more critical, as this last generation of survivors age, their needs increase. We are thrilled to be able to expand the criteria for survivors again this year, including the first-time pensions for nearly 6,500 survivors.
“Even 75 years after the Holocaust, these symbolic payments provide recognition and restore a piece of the dignity taken from survivors in their youth.”
In addition to the monthly pension sums, for those who meet the persecution criteria and were born in 1938 or later, Child Survivor Fund payments, a symbolic one-time payment of €2,500 ($2,930), will also be paid.
Last year’s negotiations resulted in two extra payments, each of €1,200 (approximately $1,400), for Jewish Nazi victims eligible for the Hardship fund. The second of these payments will be paid beginning on December 1 of this year.
And Holocaust survivors who had already been awarded €2,556 or more in one-off payments will also be able to access the extra payments of €1,200, an extension which will benefit up to 1,700 Holocaust survivors worldwide.
“Every year across the negotiation table we work to identify, recognize and achieve some measure of justice for every survivor and will continue to do so for as long as even one survivor remains with us,” Greg Schneider, Executive Vice President of the Claims Conference said.
“We are honored to be able to deliver this achievement to these survivors who have waited so long for this recognition. These accomplishments are deeply important symbols of Germany’s recognition of suffering, and for many of these survivors the funds will also relieve crushing poverty which require survivors to choose between food, medicine, or rent,” he added.