11 March 2010
The German government is increasing its funding for home care services provided to old-age Holocaust survivors. In 2010, US$ 77 million will go toward home care and social services this year, up from around US$ 40 million in 2009, according to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany ('Claims Conference'). The Finance Ministry in Berlin will make a total of US$ 125 million available toward programs helping Shoah survivors.
Gregory Schneider, executive vice-president of the Claims Conference, told the ‘Jerusalem Post’ that the key goals of this year’s talks of his organization with the German government had been to secure increased home care services and pension payments to enable survivors of the Holocaust to live in dignity. Schneider said the Claims Conference sought an end to “time limits” for survivor pensions.
Survivors are only entitled to pension payments if they were imprisoned more than six months in a Nazi concentration camp or longer than 18 months in a Jewish ghetto. “One day in Auschwitz is an eternity of a hellish nightmare, “said Schneider. The German Finance Ministry agreed to review cases of special hardship and survivors should contact the Claims Conference.
Former US ambassador and government official Stuart Eizenstat, who serves as the Claims Conference’s special negotiator, called the agreement “a major step forward in addressing vital social welfare needs for the poorest of Jewish Holocaust victims living around the world.”
In 2009, the Claims Conference spent US$ 170 million, including the German contribution, on social services for Holocaust victims in 43 countries.
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