05 April 2011
Representatives of the German and Israeli governments and of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany have agreed to substantially increase homecare funding for Holocaust survivors by a total of US$ 564 million over the next three years. Under the new agreement, the German government will provide € 126.7 million (approximately US$ 177 million) for home care funding in 2012. The following year it will give €136.7 million (currently US$ 191 million), and in 2014 €140 million (US$ 196 million). The 2012 figure represents a 15-percent increase over the amount negotiated for 2011. The money will be distributed to various agencies worldwide to provide survivors with in-home nursing and assistance in day-to-day activities. The hope is that through providing at-home care, Holocaust victims will be able to remain living at home in spite of difficulties associated with old age.
The Claims Conference also negotiated an increase in pension payments to survivors. It was decided that while previously a minimum of 18 months incarceration in a Nazi-era ghetto was the criteria for receiving payments, the German government will now review individual cases and determine based on hardship and persecution if those who spent less time in the ghetto are eligible for funding as well.
“With restitution-related sources of funding on the decline, this long-term agreement obtained by the Claims Conference is vital to addressing the growing social welfare needs of aging Holocaust survivors,” said Claims Conference Chairman Julius Berman. “It will provide survivors and the agencies that care for them the certainty that funding will be available to meet the anticipated growing demand over the next few years.”
Claims Conference special negotiator and former US Deputy Treasury Secretary Stuart Eizenstat, commended the German government for assuming responsibility for reparations and assisting survivors as they enter advanced age. “Once again, the German government has recognized its historic responsibility to help care for Jewish Holocaust victims in their final years,” he declared, adding that “over the decades, the government has demonstrated its commitment to alleviating the plight of elderly victims who need the care that these funds will provide.”
Greg Schneider, Claims Conference Executive Vice President, emphasized the importance of the increased funds, enumerating the multiple ways in which survivors will benefit from them. “With these increased funds, the Claims Conference can provide more hours of homecare, addressing the most basic needs of these aging and frail victims of Nazism. We can enable more survivors to remain in their own homes, living in familiar surroundings while getting the services they need and deserve,” said Schneider.
The Claims Conference was set up in 1951 by then World Jewish Congress President Nahum Goldmann as an umbrella body to engage the German government in negotiations for material compensation for Jewish victims of Nazi persecution.
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