Pension Payments Expanded: A Small Win for Holocaust Survivors
Holocaust survivor pension payments address a moral dilemma, not a financial dilemma. After bearing witness to the horrors of the Holocaust – one of the worst atrocities of mankind – survivors had to put back together the broken pieces of their lives. Upon losing everything, survivors were forced to rebuild from nothing.
Until recently, pension payments to Holocaust survivors expired upon death. The Claims Conference, an organization dedicated to attaining some measure of justice for Jewish Holocaust victims, negotiated with the German government to expand these payments. Over 75 years since liberation, many survivors have now passed on or are quickly advancing in age. Chairman of the Claims Conference, Julius Berman, is committed to ensuring comfort, care and dignity for survivors in their final years. As Berman so eloquently stated, “it remains our moral imperative to keep fighting as long as there are still survivors with us.”
As of July 2019, spouses of survivors are now entitled to receive pension payments from the German government for up to nine months after the survivor’s passing. Approximately 14,000 spouses are expected to be granted this payment retroactively, with a further 30,000 individuals qualifying. Additionally, there are several welfare organizations that offer a variety of services to Holocaust survivors, such as psychological services and in-home care, that will be receiving additional funding from the German government.
Germany also agreed to contribute to the Claims Conference Fund for Righteous Gentiles (non-Jews who assisted Jewish people during the war), which was established in 1963. This fund recognizes the selfless and heroic acts of non-Jewish individuals who endangered their lives and the lives of their families in order to save Jews. According to Claims Conference negotiator, Greg Schneider, there are roughly 277 Righteous Gentiles still alive who are in need of financial assistance.
Individuals who meet the requirements of an “eligible Holocaust victim” in accordance with German government guidelines, can apply to Claims Conference Compensation Programs.
Thanks for reading… Have a wonderful Wednesday!
Suzana Popovic-Montag & Tori Joseph