Germany giving £530m in fresh aid to survivors

By Toby Axelrod, May 30, 2013
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Holocaust survivors confined to their homes are about to receive £530 million worth of extra aid from Germany, according to an agreement reached with the Claims Conference.

In all, Germany will provide approximately £660 million over the next four years for survivors who require home nursing care. The annual amount provided will increase every year through to 2017.

The funds help ensure that survivors “are able to live out their lives with dignity”, Claims Conference Chairman Julius Berman said in a statement. “The well-being of survivors is of the utmost importance.”

The move is especially remarkable, said Claims Conference special negotiator Stuart Eizenstat, “since it comes at a time of budget austerity in Germany”.

The Claims Conference reported that the need for homecare will continue to rise for several years.

Currently, in addition to the 56,000 survivors who receive such assistance, there are 90,000 others who receive food, medicine, transportation and social care.

The homecare fund increase is one of several positive results from annual negotiations between the Claims Conference and the German government, held this year in Israel.

For example, it will now be easier for survivors to qualify for Article 2 pension funds, since the income limit for applicants has been raised from £10,600 to £16,600 — reportedly the first time income limits have been changed since 1995. Also, the definition of “ghetto” has been broadened, expanding the eligibility criteria for both the Article 2 Fund and the Central and Eastern European Fund.

As of January 1, 2014, residents of ghettos that were not closed — surrounded by a wall, for example — will be eligible for pensions from those funds. The Claims Conference noted that many survivors “lived under conditions similar to closed ghettos, under curfew, deprived of their jobs, subject to persecution measures, wore the yellow star, and lived in constant fear of deportation.”

Last updated: 8:45pm, May 30 2013