Germany will pay over 1 billion US dollars to Holocaust survivors in 2024
Germany will pay Holocaust survivors over $1.4 billion next year, which will go toward one-off survivor payments and social programs.
The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany announced the reparations in a press release Tuesday after a meeting with the German Treasury Department. The conference, which represents Holocaust survivors, said the $1.4 billion will go toward direct compensation and social assistance programs for survivors.
Outcomes of the meeting include:
- A total of $888.9 million will be made available for home care services, with an additional $105.2 million for bereaved families. “Increased need
- A one-off payment per year through 2027 to more than 128,000 hardship fund recipients. Survivors will receive per person €1,250 ($1,365.88 in US currency) for 2024, €1,300 ($1,420.51 in US currency) for 2025, €1,350 ($1,475.14 in US currency) for 2026 and 1,400 € ($1,529.78 in US currency) for 2027.
- Germany has also extended funding for Holocaust education until 2027. In 2026, €38 million (US$41.52 million in US currency) will be dedicated to education and in 2027 €41 million (US$44.80 million in US currency) will be dedicated to education.
Overall, total compensation for Holocaust survivors in 2024 is expected to be around $535 million.
Greg Schneider, executive vice president of the Claims Conference, said in the press release that the negotiations are critical to supporting elderly Holocaust survivors.
“Being able to provide direct payments to survivors, in addition to the expansions of social care benefits that we fund, is essential to ensure that every Holocaust survivor is cared for for as long as needed and that every individual need is met,” he said.
What is the Hardship Fund Payment?
The Hardship Fund was originally established as a one-time payment to Holocaust survivors. However, during the COVID-19 crisis, negotiations resulted in three additional top-up payments to beneficiaries, spurring the fund’s continuation through December 2023. Germany agreed to extend the payment again, which will now be completed in 2027.
Eligible are Jewish people who came from the former Soviet Union but were not housed in camps or ghettos. The recipients of the payments must also not be eligible for any pension schemes.
“These survivors were fleeing the Einsatzgruppen – Nazi mobile killing squads tasked with murdering entire Jewish communities. More than a million Jews were killed by these units, which operated largely by shooting hundreds and thousands of Jews at once and burying them in mass pits,” the press release reads.
The press release states that this group of survivors is the most in need of help as they age.
“By expanding payments to these survivors, the German government is recognizing that this suffering is still being felt deeply, both emotionally and financially. While these payments are symbolic, they represent financial relief for many aging Jewish Holocaust survivors around the world.
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What does home care involve?
The Claims Conference has over 300 social service partners in 83 countries providing home care services. The agencies offer in-home services, working directly with survivors to ensure they have everything they need, whether it’s food, health care, transportation or social contacts.
“All of this is of critical importance to this last generation of Holocaust survivors, whose needs are becoming ever more costly in their final years,” the press release said.
Stuart Eizenstat, special negotiator for the Claims Conference negotiating delegation, said in the press release that he was inspired by Germany’s responsibility to survivors to continue providing them with care.
“Nearly 80 years have passed since the liberation of Auschwitz, and the need to negotiate care and compensation for the survivors is more urgent than ever. Each trial is a near-final opportunity to ensure Holocaust survivors receive some measure of justice and justice. “It will never be enough until the last survivor has breathed their last,” Eizenstat said.
How will Holocaust education change?
The press release said it is important for Holocaust survivors to share their stories and be remembered as they grow older.
“It is important that the survivors know that their legacy will be passed on to future generations,” it says. “To that end, the federal government and the Claims Conference have engaged in long-term discussions to ensure that the lessons of the Holocaust are not lost as we move from firsthand memories and lived experiences into history.”
A Claims Conference poll found that knowledge of the Holocaust is declining in several countries around the world, including the US, Canada, Austria, France, the UK and the Netherlands. However, the study also shows that people still want to find out more about the Holocaust so that such an event does not happen again, the statement said.
“One of the goals of ongoing negotiations with the federal government is to improve funding for educational programs to ensure that future generations have access to cutting-edge, innovative Holocaust education programs,” it said.
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Kate Perez covers breaking and breaking news for USA TODAY. You can reach her at email@example.com or on Twitter @katecperez_.