Germany will pay Holocaust survivors over $1.4 billion next year, which will go toward one-time payments for the survivors and welfare programs.
The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany announced the compensations on Tuesday in a press release after meeting with the German Federal Ministry of Finance. The conference, which represents Holocaust survivors, stated the $1.4 billion will go towards direct compensation and social welfare programs for the survivors.
Outcomes from the meeting include:
- $888.9 million total in funding will go toward home care services with an additional $105.2 million going toward survivors; “increased” needs
- A one-time payment each year until 2027 toward more then 128,000 recipients of the Hardship Fund. Survivors will receive €1,250 ($1,365.88 in U.S. currency) per person for 2024, €1,300 ($1,420.51 in U.S. currency) for 2025, €1,350 ($1,475.14 in U.S. currency) for 2026 and €1,400 ($1,529.78 in U.S. currency) for 2027.
- Germany also extended funding for Holocaust education until 2027. There will be €38 million ($41.52 million in U.S. currency) toward education in 2026 and €41 million ($44.80 million in U.S. currency) toward education in 2027.
Overall, the total amount of compensation for Holocaust survivors for 2024 is expected to be around $535 million.
Greg Schneider, executive vice president of the Claims Conference, said in the release that the negotiations are essential to supporting Holocaust survivors who are elderly.
“Being able to ensure direct payments to survivors in addition to the expansions to the social welfare services we are able to fund is essential in making sure every Holocaust survivor is taken care of for as long as it is required, addressing each individual need,” he said.
What is the Hardship Fund payment?
The Hardship Fund was first created to be a one-time payment to Holocaust survivors. During COVID-19, however, negotiations led to three more supplemental payments to those who are eligible, spurring the continuation of the fund until December 2023. Germany agreed to extend the payment again, which will wrap up in 2027 now.
Those eligible for the payment include Jewish people who were from the former Soviet Union but were not placed in camps or ghettos. Those receiving payment also have to not be eligible for pension programs.
“These survivors fled the Einsatzgruppen—Nazi mobile killing units charged with murdering entire Jewish communities. More than 1 million Jews were killed by these units, which operated largely by shooting hundreds and thousands of Jews at a time and burying them in mass pits,” the press release stated.
The release states that this group of survivors are some that need the most help as they age.
“By expanding payments to these survivors, the German government is acknowledging that this suffering is still being felt deeply, both emotionally and financially. While symbolic, these payments provide financial relief for many aging Jewish Holocaust survivors living around the world,” it states.
What will the home care services entail?
The Claims Conference has over 300 social welfare agency partners in 83 countries that provide home care services. The agencies deliver in-home services, where they work directly with survivors to make sure they have everything they need, whether its food, health care, transportation, or being social.
“These are all critically important to this last generation of Holocaust survivors who are finding their needs more costly in their waning years,” the release states,
Stuart Eizenstat, special negotiator for the Claims Conference Negotiations Delegation, said in the release that he is inspired by Germany’s responsibility to the survivors in continuing to provide them with care.
“It has been nearly 80 years since the liberation of Auschwitz and the need to negotiate for survivor care and compensation is more urgent than ever. Every negotiation is a near-last opportunity to ensure survivors of the Holocaust are receiving some measure of justice and a chance at the dignity that was taken from them in their youth. It will never be enough until the last survivor has taken their last breath,” Eizenstat said.
How will Holocaust education change?
The release states that it is important that Holocaust survivors share their stories and are remembered as they grow older.
“It is essential that survivors know their legacy will be carried forward by the generations that come behind them,” it states. “To this end, the German government and Claims Conference have been in long-term discussions to ensure that the lessons of the Holocaust will not be lost as we transition from first-hand memories and lived experiences into history.”
A Claims Conference survey found that knowledge about the Holocaust is declining in multiple countries across the world, including the U.S., Canada, Austria, France, the U.K. and The Netherlands. However, the study also shows that people want to continue to learn about the Holocaust so an event like it does not occur again, the release says.
“One of the goals from the ongoing negotiations with the German government is to improve funding for education programs that will ensure future generations have access to cutting-edge, innovative Holocaust education programs,” it states.
Source : USA Today