April 14, 2024
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Germany Agrees To Pay Child Survivors

The Claims Conference has successfully negotiated a $250 million landmark agreement with the German government. As a result of last week’s negotiations, a new fund will be established, to be administered by the Claims Conference, for Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust. This joint fund will provide support to Shoah survivors around the world who lived under Nazi occupation and will enable them to receive symbolic financial compensation for the traumas suffered during their childhood. The payment from this fund represents an acknowledgement of the special trauma and hardship endured by children during the Shoah.

Our negotiating delegation emphasized to the German government that because Jewish children were in constant fear of death during the Holocaust, this trauma has overshadowed the rest of their lives. Early traumas are now resulting in late-onset physical and psychological problems that only now are appearing as concrete symptoms in their old age.

Those survivors of the Shoah who were born January 1, 1928 or later–the oldest of those would have been young children when Hitler came to power in 1933–and who were in concentration camps, ghettos, or for at least six months under Nazi occupation (or 12 months in Nazi Axis countries) in hiding or under false identity will be eligible to receive a special one-time payment of ˆ2,500 (approximately $3,280) because of special needs.

The agreement is subject to approval by the Bundestag and the Claims Conference. It is envisioned that the fund will become operational on Jan. 1, 2015. Approximately 25 percent of the funding for this program will come from the Claims Conference, with the remaining 75 percent provided by the German government. These were not easy negotiations–especially given the German government position that these survivors were already receiving pensions and therefore should not receive any additional payments. Ultimately, these payments represent acknowledgment of the special needs of those who endured the Shoah as children, especially 70 years later.

The agreement reached in the negotiations between the Claims Conference and the German government comes on the heels of the first-ever symposium held in Berlin of Jewish child survivors, held on August 27 at Centrum Judaicum. The symposium – “Lost Childhood: Jewish Childhood Survivors” – was organized by the Claims Conference, in cooperation with the World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust and Descendants (WFJCSD) and the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel.

 

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