27 January 2010
The Jewish Claims Conference has said that about half of the estimated 517,000 survivors of the Shoah whoare still alive live in poverty and are struggling to make ends meet. The organization – which was set up in the 1950s and negotiates with the German and other governments on behalf of Holocaust victims – said that more financial efforts had to be committed to help old-age survivors lead a life in dignity. Most of the 260,000 survivors that are below the poverty line live in the countries of the former Soviet Union (90,000) and Israel (74,000), according to the Claims Conference. Around a fifth of all survivors – most of whom are now aged 80 years or more – are in need of care.
In the waftermath of World War II, many survivors of the Nazi camps struggled to set up a new business and could not set aside enough money for their retirement. Although Germany has paid over US$ 90 billion in compensation and pensions to the victims of the Nazi atrocities, the Claims Conference is asking for a “dynamic adaptation” of annual payments and further funds for the construction of geriatric care facilities. “We have an obligation to ensure that old-age Holocaust survivors can spend their remaining years in dignity,” Georg Heuberger, representative of the Claims Conference in Germany, was quoted by the German newspaper 'Süddeutsche Zeitung' as saying.
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