Central and Eastern European Fund

Katarzyna receives compensation from the Central & Eastern European Fund, and also received a payment from the Program for Former Slave and Forced Laborers. Now 81 years old, she suffers from rheumatism and problems with her circulatory system. She also requires dental treatment. The 30 hours of homecare help each month “makes it easier to live, and to write,” Katarzyna says.

Katarzyna receives compensation from the Central & Eastern European Fund, and also received a payment from the Program for Former Slave and Forced Laborers.

Overview

The Claims Conference has approved 31,095 Holocaust survivors for payment from this fund, and has paid a total of approximately  $830 million.

After intensive negotiations with Germany, the Claims Conference reached an agreement in 1998 that would allow some of the most persecuted Nazi victims in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union to receive compensation for the first time. This agreement was negotiated for survivors whose living conditions were very different than in the West.

The eligibility criteria for the Central and Eastern European Fund (CEEF) are the same as the Article 2 Fund, on the premise that all CEEF applicants meet the financial hardship criteria. Recipients are paid €352 per month.

The Claims Conference intensively pressed the German government for a number of years to increase CEEF payments, as the cost of living in the region has risen substantially. On January 1, 2013, CEEF payment amounts became the same as those from the Article 2 Fund, a long-sought goal of the Claims Conference.

The Claims Conference is continually negotiating with Germany to expand the eligibility criteria and payments for the CEEF and Article 2 Fund. Achievements as a result include:

  • In 2002, the German government agreed to recognize previously unrecognized camps and work battalions in Romania and other places for purposes of eligibility for the Article 2 and CEE Fund payments, thus increasing the number of potentially eligible applicants.
  • In 2003, the Claims Conference negotiated an increase in Article 2 and CEE Fund payments linked to the BEG cost of living index, and the inclusion of additional non-recognized camps in Hungary. In addition, certain persons who were citizens of Western countries at the time of persecution and had been previously unable to apply may now, under specific circumstances, receive Article 2 payments.
  • In 2004, the Claims Conference negotiated the inclusion of previously unrecognized camps in Bulgaria and the payment of persons over age 18 who lived illegally under false identity or with false papers and who meet all other eligibility criteria of the funds.
  • In 2005, the German government agreed to include Holocaust survivors incarcerated for at least six months in certain labor camps in Hungary, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria, and who meet all other eligibility criteria of the funds.
  • In 2006, the Claims Conference negotiated inclusion of prisoners in three Tunisian internment camps who meet all other eligibility criteria.
  • In 2010, the German government agreed to a special review of applications from survivors who were in a concentration camp for less than six months.
  • In 2011, the Claims Conference negotiated the time period for incarceration in a ghetto or life in hiding or under false identity from 18 months to 12 months for eligibility. In addition, survivors age 75 or older who were in a ghetto for three to 12 months will be eligible for special pensions.
  • In 2012, the German government agreed that the special pensions for survivors age 75 or older who were in a ghetto for three to 11 months could be paid to any eligible survivor who lived under these conditions, regardless of current age, and that the amount of these pensions would increase to €300 per month. The Claims Conference also negotiated to reduce the time from 12 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.
  • In 2013, the German government also agreed to include survivors of certain “open ghettos” in the program as of January 1, 2014.
  • Increases in payment amounts over the years.

Please Note: The amount of CEEF compensation is set by the German government and is a fixed Euro amount. Currency exchange fluctuations between the Euro and other currencies will affect the amount of compensation payments received when the Euro is converted into local currencies.