The German government through the efforts of the Jewish organization The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany has agreed to give out pension payments to about 6,500 Holocaust survivors in conflict zones in Europe.
The Claims Conference said Tuesday that the new pension scheme will cover those affected by the conflict in European countries such as Russia, France, and Romania. This includes those that had survived the Nazi siege of Leningrad and those who suffered persecution during the occupation of France and Romania.
While the German government has provided pensions to some survivors of the war, people in those countries have yet to receive compensation.
The Claims Conference said the pension scheme will cover roughly 4,500 people who survived the Leningrad siege between 1941 and 1944. During that siege, hundreds of thousands of people were killed as the Nazis bombarded the city with artillery and airstrikes. Thousands also died from starvation as the Nazis set up blockades for supplies going into the city.
Another 800 survivors who had escaped to France will be eligible to get pension payments, while another 1,200 people who survived persecution in Romania will be eligible. The Claims Conference said about 2,000 of the recipients now live in Russia, 1,600 in Israel, and the rest are scattered in countries such as the U.S., Germany, and France.
Claims Conference president, Gideon Taylor, said the pension scheme is critical in meeting the needs of the last generation of survivors of the war. He added that even 75 years later, the payments should still provide some recognition and restore some dignity to those that had suffered through the war during their youth.
Eligible recipients of the new pension scheme will receive payments of $443 per month. Meanwhile, the children of those who suffered through the Holocaust, through a new Child Survivor Fund, will receive a symbolic one-time payment of $2,930. The Claims Conference said those that meet their criteria, including those who were born in 1928 or later, will be eligible for the payments.
Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, the former U.S. ambassador to the EU and the current special negotiator for the Claims Conference, said that he was pleased to see more survivors being recognized by the German government.
"As a special negotiator, I have a commitment to survivors to continue to achieve new and further measures of justice whenever possible," Eizenstat said.