Nine in ten of Germany’s Jewish pensioners live below the poverty line

Central Welfare Board of Jews in Germany demands action is taken to address crisis


More than 90 per cent of Germany’s Jewish pensioners live below the poverty line, compared to one in five pensioners in the general population, it has been revealed.

There are 70,000 Jews in Germany aged over 67, some of them Holocaust survivors, and, according to the Central Welfare Board of Jews in Germany, nine in ten are surviving on less than 1,135 euros (around £1,000) a month.

The organisation is demanding a “a one-off, tax-free, five-figure payment” from the government to lift its ageing Jewish population out of poverty. “They need sufficient funds to get by in old age without relying on basic security benefits,” it said.

One problem for Germany’s overall Jewish population of 90,000, many of whom have emigrated from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and parts of the former Soviet Union, is that the pensions they accrued in their countries of origin are only partially transferable to Germany.

And the Russian invasion of Ukraine and attendant travel restrictions in the region mean they can’t now get to their former countries to withdraw the funds they can’t transfer. In addition, seven in ten of the emigre Jews are graduates whose degrees are not recognised in Germany.

This meant, said the organisation, that when they arrived they were immediately excluded from jobs that might have “allowed them to secure more ample retirement packages. These people have been marginalised.”

The board is pushing for a figure that “reflects the historical responsibility for the restoration of Jewish life in Germany”, it said.

“Too often Jews have suffered a significant deterioration in their social situation,” it added.
“The hardship they’ve suffered must be recognised.”

There was, said the Board, which was founded in Frankfurt in 1917, “a stark difference at times between what politicians say in terms of the need to protect Jewish life and what they are actually prepared to do.

“This community is not used to making a fuss, so we are making one on their behalf.”
It’s also requesting Jewish pensioners receive additional funds to cope with soaring living costs, and a guarantee that gas and electricity supplies won’t be cut off if they can’t pay the bills.

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