Claims Conference Negotiations with the German Government Result in First-Ever Pensions for 6,500 Holocaust Survivors

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Approximately 6,500 Jewish Holocaust Survivors from The Leningrad Siege, Those Hiding In France And Persecuted In Romania To Receive Pensions For the First Time

Special Negotiator Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat speaking during 2018 negotiations with the German government. Photo: Jason Colston

NEW YORK, NEW YORK: October 6, 2021 – Today, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), announced that, in an important achievement for survivors, first-time pensions have been allotted for Holocaust survivors who survived the Leningrad Siege as well as survivors who were in hiding in France and those who survived persecution in Romania, who are not currently receiving Shoah related pensions.

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.”

The newly negotiated region-specific pension program is open and currently receiving applications. Payments will be €375 ($443) per month.

Jewish Nazi victims will be entitled to receive the monthly pension of €375 USD$443) if they satisfy one of the following types of region-specific severe persecution during the Nazi period: 

  1. Were at least three months in the Siege of Leningrad; OR 
  2. Lived between April 1, 1941 and August 31, 1944 at least three months under Axis occupation within the borders of Romania on April 1, 1941; OR 
  3. Lived at least three months in France in hiding, including with access to the outside world. For example, those living in southern France, were able to be out during the day and hid at night when deportations took place.

Child Survivor Fund payments, a symbolic one-time payment of €2,500 ($2,930), will also be paid to those who meet the persecution criteria and were born 1928 or later.

“As Special Negotiator, I have a commitment to survivors to continue to achieve new and further measures of justice whenever possible. I am again pleased to see more survivors recognized by the German Government for their unimaginable suffering. It has been my honor to sit alongside some of these survivors as we negotiate year over year for a continued measure of justice. Sadly, we saw the passing of our long-time colleague, fellow negotiator and friend, Roman Kent z”l amid this year’s negotiations giving a special urgency to the work we have been doing and whose spirit encouraged us to seek the additional funding that we happily obtained.”

–Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, Special Negotiator for the Claims Conference Negotiations Delegation

“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. 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.” Schneider continued, “at a time when Holocaust survivors globally are facing insurmountable challenges due to COVID and their fragility, we are proud to be able to offer some hope in that roughly $767 million dollars in compensation programs will be dispersed to survivors around the world.”

–Greg Schneider, Executive Vice President of the Claims Conference

  • Last year’s negotiations resulted in two supplemental payments, each of €1,200 (approximately $1,400), for Jewish Nazi victims eligible for the Hardship fund. Survivors will be receiving the second of two payments beginning December 1, 2021.
  • Holocaust survivors who previously received one-time payments of €2,556 or more, and were thus prevented from receiving additional payments, shall also now be entitled to the Hardship Fund Supplemental payments of €1,200 in 2021 and 2022. It is estimated that 1,700 Holocaust survivors worldwide will benefit from this liberalization.

The Claims Conference negotiations delegation is comprised of Special Negotiator, Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat; Co-Chair, Roman Kent z”l; Holocaust survivor leaders – Ambassador Colette Avital, Sir Ben Helfgott and Marian Turski; Ambassador Reuven Merhav; Rabbi Andrew Baker; and Claims Conference Executive Vice President Greg Schneider.