Germany has agreed to provide restitution payments to an additional 80,000 Jews in what Claims Conference officials are describing as a historic breakthrough.
The agreement, which was reached Monday in negotiations between German officials and Claims Conference representatives, is likely to result in additional payments of approximately $300 million. Most of the money will go to Nazi victims in the former Soviet Union who have never before qualified for pensions or payments from German restitution money.
For the first time, Holocaust survivors who worked for the Nazis in ghettos “without force” are eligible for a one-time Ghetto Fund payment of about $2,600, in addition to monthly German pensions. The Ghetto Fund was created in 2007 because of problems in implementing social security payments for these survivors.
“The decision represents recognition of the suffering and hardship experienced by Jews working in Nazi-era ghettos under unimaginable conditions,” said Julius Berman, chairman of the Claims Conference.
Hearing this week is latest attempt to allow survivors to press claims in state court; French rail case testimony also heard.
After years of getting the runaround from the German insurance giant Allianz, Herbert Karliner recently learned why he had been unable to collect on his father’s life insurance: the company claims his father cashed in the policy on Nov. 9, 1938 — the day of Kristallnacht, the Nazi pogrom against Jews.
On that day, Karliner said, his “father’s store was burned down and he was taken from our home to Buchenwald,” a Nazi concentration camp.
Within the past year, the Claims Conference has obtained approximately $700 million in pledged funding from the German government for homecare for Holocaust victims through 2014, the result of intensive and prolonged negotiations with one focus: to provide the help that Nazi victims need in order to remain living in their own homes for as long as possible. Having been abandoned by the world in their youth, the Claims Conference has been determined that they shall not also be abandoned in their final years.
Group advocates right to sue for insurance claims, opposing other Jewish organizations
For the first time, the largest group of Holocaust survivors in the United States has taken an official position against other major mainstream Jewish groups on the right of survivors to sue for Holocaust-era insurance claims.
German government makes historic multiyear commitment to needy Holocaust survivors.
The German government has for the first time agreed to a multiyear commitment to fund home care for needy Holocaust survivors, thus assuring survivors and the agencies that care for them that funding will be available as survivor needs peak in 2014, according to Julius Berman, chairman of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
The announcement Tuesday came after a daylong negotiating session Monday at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan. It was the first time negotiations had taken place outside of Berlin.
After protests and activism,
much of it by elderly Holocaust survivors,
New York State drops plans to close 105 facilities.
Special To The Jewish Week
Holocaust survivors and their advocates at the Boro Park Y Senior Center in Brooklyn were breathing a sigh of relief this week — and congratulating one another’s activism — following the recent approval of the New York State budget that restores funding to 105 such centers citywide.
“In my 23 years here this was the most serious issue we’ve faced,” said program director Judy Liff, of the close call the center confronted when the city threatened massive shutdowns.