German Social Security Ghetto Pension – ZRBG

German Social Security Ghetto Pension – ZRBG

German government Social Security pensions have been available since 1997 to Holocaust survivors who were employed for some form of wages during their internment in Nazi ghettos annexed to the Third Reich. The law, formally known by its German acronym of ZRBG, was expanded in 2002. Although this is not a Claims Conference program, the organization campaigns for its improved implementation so that all eligible survivors are recognized.   

Learn more on the German Pension Service’s ZRBG website.

Initially, most applicants were rejected due to local authorities’ misinterpretation of eligibility criteria. A 2009 Federal Court ruling allowed for denied applications to be reconsidered under a broader definition of “remuneration” received in the ghetto, but in 2012, Germany’s highest social court ruled that payments could only be retroactive up to four years. 

In 2013, the Claims Conference successfully pushed for retroactive payments to be included in the coalition agreement establishing the new German government.  In early 2014, the German Labor Ministry proposed an amendment to ZRBG legislation that would grant retroactive payments dating to 1997 to all recipients.  The Bundestag passed it in June 2014. 

Learn more about the payments retroactive to 1997.

Status of Re-Opened Applications for German Social Security Payments for Work in Ghettos

Total of reopened cases

Approvals

Application withdrawn

Rejections

Cannot be resolved*

January 12, 2012

56,753

25,153

375

14,322

16,903

*These include decision deferrals and claims closed after contact with claimants or legal successors failed.

The Claims Conference is not involved in the administration, implementation or processing of applications for the Ghetto Pension or the Ghetto Fund. The information presented herein is intended for information purposes only and solely as a general guide. The information is not intended as legal advice. It is a summary of specific issues and does not represent a definitive or complete statement of the programs and policies of the agencies or governments mentioned. The information may not address the special needs, interests and circumstances of individual recipients. Individual situations differ and recipients are urged to seek individual advice. Individuals seeking specific information on a program are urged to contact the relevant program or to consult their social service agency or help center representative. While the Claims Conference provides information on a general basis to various help and assistance centers, each help and assistance center is solely responsible for the advice provided by it. To the best of our knowledge the information is correct as of the date of this document and this information may change subsequent to the said date – July 23, 2014