The Claims Conference is very pleased to announce significant changes in the eligibility criteria for Holocaust survivor pensions from the Claims Conference Article 2 Fund and Central and Eastern European Fund (CEEF) as of January 1, 2013. After long and hard-fought negotiations with the German government, these pensions may now be paid to thousands of additional survivors whose persecution history was previously not recognized by German criteria for this program. Full criteria are at www.claimscon.org/article2.
The special pensions being paid to eligible survivors who were in a ghetto for 3 to 11 months will increase to €300 per month and become a standard Article 2 Fund or CEEF payment. As of November 1, 2012, the requirement that a survivor had to be age 75 or over to receive this special payment was abolished.
The Claims Conference also negotiated to reduce the time from 12 months to 6 months that victims had to have lived in hiding or under false identity in Nazi-occupied territories in order to be eligible for Claims Conference pensions. This will make up to 5,000 survivors eligible for monthly pensions starting January 1, 2013, affecting primarily survivors persecuted in Hungary, Italy, France, Greece, and Slovakia. This follows a change in the criteria negotiated in November 2011 that reduced the time in hiding or living under false identity from 18 to 12 months.
In addition to all these changes, pensions paid to survivors living in Eastern Europe from the Central and Eastern European Fund will be the same as from Article 2 as of January 1, a long-sought goal of the Claims Conference. We have maintained that compensation amounts paid for the same persecution histories should be equal irrespective of current country of residence.
To summarize, pensions may now be paid to survivors who were in a concentration camp, labor camp or labor battalion; in a ghetto for 3 months or longer; or in hiding or living under false identity for 6 months in Nazi-occupied territory or for 12 months in satellite states; and who meet all other criteria of the program, which can be found at Learn more about the Article 2 Program.
Along with the changes in the pension programs, there will be one-time payments made for the first time to 80,000 Nazi victims in the former Soviet Union, who have never before received any compensation to acknowledge their persecution.
These historic changes to compensation programs have gone a long way toward ensuring that every Holocaust victim is able to receive payment, but there is still more to be done and the Claims Conference will continue working for as long as needed on behalf of survivors.