Some 66 years after the end of the Second World War, more than 16,000 Holocaust survivors who have been denied German compensation pensions will now be eligible to receive them, the Jewish Claims Conference (JCC) said late on Monday.
The payment of 485 million ($649 million) by the German government means that on average each of the survivors concerned will receive some 30,000, according to the JCC.
The payments became possible because the German government had agreed to revise the conditions for eligibility. Until now, victims had to prove they had been in a ghetto, in hiding, or living under false identity for at least 18 months during the Nazi era. Now that time period has been shortened to 12 months -- a change that will enable more than 8,000 survivors to qualify for compensation, the JCC said.
Thousands of other victims will benefit from further changes in the terms of payment, bringing the total up to more than 16,000.
Money Helps, But Memories Remain
They include the siblings Otto Herman, 81, and Erzsebet Benedek, 78, who were forced to live in the Budapest ghetto in 1944. They survived the war but most of their relatives were killed. Now they live in Brooklyn. They say the payments will be a financial help, but will never make up for the horror they experienced.
The Claims Conference was founded in 1951 to secure financial compensation for Holocaust survivors. Last year the Jewish organization made headlines with a scandal over fraudulent claims.
For years, a gang of 17 swindlers siphoned off money from two compensation funds by falsifying thousands of applications from presumed victims of Nazi oppression. Six of them were JCC staff members. The gang stole a total of $42.5 million (31 million).