Germany to Provide $1 Billion in Home Care to Holocaust Victims

As part of agreement with Claims Conference, 56,000 Holocaust survivors will receive home nursing services, 22,000 of whom reside in Israel. Another 90,000 survivors will receive other forms of assistance and social services.

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The Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany (Claims Conference) has announced that, over the next four years, Germany will provide $1 billion for the home care of Holocaust survivors throughout the world.

After negotiations were conducted between representatives of the Claims Conference and the German Ministry of Finance, an agreement was reached according to which the German government would transfer payments in the amount of 772 million euros for this purpose between 2013 and 2017.

The Claims Conference reports that, in 2013, it will fund home nursing services for 56,000 Holocaust survivors throughout the world, 22,000 of whom reside in Israel. Another 90,000 survivors will receive other forms of assistance and social services, including food, medications, clothing, blankets and heaters for the winter season, social activities, etc.

The Claims Conference states that the money will be used to fund home nursing care, medications and social services for Holocaust survivors around the world. The money will be transferred by the Claims Conference to the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel, Amcha and other organizations providing vital services to survivors.

The negotiations began in Jerusalem between the Claims Conference and the German Finance Ministry, when senior officials of that ministry traveled to the Israeli capital last week for the talks.

It has also been agreed that Germany will provide compensation for Holocaust survivors who were in "open ghettos" during the Second World War. Up until now, the criteria for eligibility established by the German government for the allocation of a monthly allowance applied only to Holocaust survivors who, during the war, were in "closed ghettos" - that is, ghettos surrounded by a wall.

However, during that period there were also thousands of Holocaust survivors who resided in "open ghettos," such as the Czernowitz ghetto in Romania and ghettos in Bulgaria and other Nazi-occupied countries. These Jews lived under curfew conditions, were prohibited from seeking gainful employment, were persecuted and were forced to wear a yellow Star of David.

The easing of the criteria for eligibility will go into effect on January 1, 2014. The Claims Conference estimates that between 2,000 and 3,000 additional Holocaust survivors will now be eligible for a monthly allowance from the German government under this new arrangement.

Germany has also committed itself to discuss the possibility of financial compensation for Holocaust survivors who were children during the Holocaust period and who now require assistance in order to cope with traumas and other late onset emotional symptoms that surface in adulthood.

Holocaust survivors in Israel. Credit: Alex Levac

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