13 July 2011
Germany has agreed to expand the group of Nazi victims eligible for one-time payments of € 1,900 (US$ 2,660) to those who never left central and eastern Europe, the Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) has announced. Until now, only those who fled the Nazis as they moved east through Germany but later settled outside the Communist bloc were eligible for payments from the Hardship Fund. The expansion of the pool will affect approximately 7,000 additional people who fled the Nazis but then settled behind the Iron Curtain, the Claims Conference announced.
In all, the payments are expected to amount to about US$ 19 million. Only those who are now residing in one of the ten European Union countries that used to be part of the Soviet bloc will be eligible. The announcement came during the annual board meetings of the Claims Conference, which urged Germany to accept the change.
“This is a first step towards attaining recognition for those Nazi victims whose experiences have not been acknowledged," said Claims Conference Chairman Julius Berman. "These are victims of Nazism and communism, who at the end of their lives are finally obtaining symbolic recognition of their persecution."
Since its establishment in 1980, the Hardship Fund has paid out more than US$ 800 million. It originally did not include Communist countries for fear that the payments would be seized by the State. The Hardship Fund is one of many funds administered for Germany by the Claims Conference.
Applications for payments may be submitted to the fund from September 2011 to June 2013. It covers Shoah victims living in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. For contact information, click here.
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