After 80 Years, Germany Agrees to Compensate Kindertransport Survivors

Nearly 10,000 children, almost all of them Jewish, were sent to Britain on the Kindertransport from Nazi Germany, including Austria and parts of Czechoslovakia annexed to Germany

A camp leader ringing the dinner bell at a camp for young Jewish Kindertransport refugees from Germany and Austria, at Dovercourt Bay, near Harwich, January 11, 1939.
Reg Speller / Fox Photos / Hulto

Jewish children, who fled Europe under Nazi rule as part of the “Kindertransport” rescue effort 80 years ago, will receive one-time compensation of 2,500 euros ($2,800) from the German government. The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, better known as the Claims Conference, reached the agreement on the payments with the German government.

Nearly 10,000 children, almost all of them Jewish, were sent to Britain on the Kindertransport from Nazi Germany, including Austria and parts of Czechoslovakia annexed to Germany, starting in December 1938 and until just before World War II broke out in Europe in September 1939. They were put on trains and sent off without their parents and families, who in almost all cases, they never saw again.

The Claims Conference will open the Kindertransport fund on January 1, 2019, when it will be possible to submit requests for compensation directly and from anywhere, including Israel, without the need for any outside help. The Claims Conference estimates that about 1,000 survivors from the Kindertransport are still alive all over the world. About 3,000 of them made aliyah to Israel after the war.

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“This payment comes at a time when we are commemorating 80 years since these children took their fateful journey from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia to Great Britain,” noted Stuart Eizenstat, Claims Conference special negotiator. “After having to endure a life forever severed from their parents and families, no one can ever profess to make them whole; they are receiving a small measure of justice,” said Eizenstat, the former U.S. deputy secretary of the treasury and ambassador to the European Union.