Germany last week agreed to contribute to a new fund to support child survivors of the Holocaust. Former Clinton and Carter administration official Stuart Eizenstat, who negotiated the agreement for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, called the $250 million accord a “breakthrough.” “For the first time, there has been a special recognition by the German government of the unique deprivation of child survivors,” he said.
The agreement, which must still be approved by the German parliament, calls for Germany to provide about 75 percent of the fund, with the balance to come from the Claims Conference through the sale of unclaimed Jewish property in the former East Germany. Child survivors are defined in the agreement as Nazi victims born on Jan. 1, 1928, or later.
Those who were in concentration camps, ghettos or were, for at least six months, in hiding or living under false identity will be eligible to receive a one-time payment of 2,500 euros (approximately $3,280) for special psychological and medical care.
There are some 500,000 living survivors, Eizenstat said.
Of that number, 75,000 are child survivors. If approved, the fund is expected to become operational on Jan. 1, 2015. “We hope it will be completed within 24 months,” Eizenstat said. Once ratified, the Claims Conference will publish details about applying.
The agreement, reached Sept. 3, is also noteworthy in that it does not penalize survivors who had received a small payment in the early 1950s, he said.
“The Germans had an ironclad rule that they would not make additional payments to people who had already received [reparations money]. This breaks that rule.”
The Claims Conference, which was established to represent world Jewry in negotiating for compensation and restitution for victims of Nazi persecution and their heirs, last year negotiated an agreement for Germany to pay about $3,280 to each of 80,000 survivors who fled the Nazis with the retreating Soviet army, Eizenstat said. Negotiators continue to work with the Germans on issues including the rising need for health care by aging survivors.
They are also seeking compensation for survivors of the Iasi death train, in which hundreds, if not thousands, of Romanian Jews suffocated.