German government releases further payments to eligible Holocaust survivors

October 14, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), has announced the results of the organization’s most recent negotiations with the German Government on behalf of Holocaust survivors.

Robert Goot

The most recent negotiations resulted in two supplemental payments, each of 1,200 (approximately A$1,950), for Jewish Nazi victims eligible for the Hardship fund. The payments will be made in each of the next two years for a total of €2,400 (A$3,900) and the payments will become effective as of October 1, 2020.

Referring to this year’s achievements, Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, Claims Conference Special Negotiator, stated, “this year, just as we have been every year, we are steadfast in our commitment to Holocaust survivors.  In the face of a devastating global pandemic it was vital to secure larger increases for survivors while also seeking immediate funds to help them through these extremely challenging times. These additional Hardship Fund payments along with the global allocation of over $653 million for social welfare services will impact Holocaust survivors globally.”

Sydney-based Robert Goot is a Director and Member of the Allocations Committee of the Claims Conference.

He told J-Wire: “The recently announced results of the annual negotiations between the Claims Conference and the German Ministry of Finance are especially gratifying because they were significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, which prevented the German negotiating team meeting survivors in their homes as usually occurs. This year the negotiating teams ‘zoomed’ into the homes of 6 survivors to gain first- hand experience of the challenges they face in the Autumn of their years.

On 3 September 2020, The President of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry Jillian Segal and representatives of the ECAJ, met with Dr Thomas Fitschen, the German Ambassador to Australia to emphasise the vital nature of the forthcoming negotiations for the Jewish community.

In the circumstances, the results achieved by the Claims Conference Negotiating Committee led by Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat were outstanding.  The two Supplemental Payments to eligible recipients of the Hardship Fund totalling approximately €2,400 (AUD3,900 approx) are payable over 2 years to approximately 240,000 survivors of the Shoah, who have an average age of 83 years and who are overwhelmingly the poorest of all survivors.

Additional increased payments are to be made to eligible recipients of various other funds administered by the Claims Conference including the Article 2 Fund, the Central and Eastern European Fund, the Child Survivors Fund and the ZRBG – Ghetto Pension.

Importantly for Australian survivors, the German Government will provide an additional €30.5 million in funding for Home Services globally and increase the maximum number of homecare hours, and the maximum home care amount per individual survivor.

Finally, building on a breakthrough in negotiations last year, the German Government will double the amount of funding for Holocaust education to €18 million by 2023 and have also agreed on the composition of the Advisory Board which will assess the educational projects exclusively submitted by the Claims Conference.

We are confident that the Claims Conference Negotiating Committee has the profound and enduring gratitude of the Australian survivors and the Jewish community.”

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