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Germany to pay nearly $1 billion for Holocaust survivor care

May 30, 2013 at 8:54 AM   |   Comments

JERUSALEM, May 30 (UPI) -- The German government agreed to pay nearly $1 billion for the care of Holocaust survivors in a deal reached with a fund for Jewish victims, officials said.

The agreement, negotiated in Israel between the German Finance Ministry and the Claims Conference, a Jewish fund for victims of Nazi aggression, will benefit Holocaust survivors worldwide, Der Speigel reported Wednesday.

The money will be contributed in stages between 2014 and 2017 and will provide at least 56,000 Holocaust survivors with home-nursing care, medication and social services, the Claims Conference said in a statement.

The conference said the funds are particularly important now because survivors are aging and have a greater need for such services.

About a third of the survivors live in Israel, where the negotiations were completed Tuesday.

"We are seeing Germany's continued commitment to fulfill its historic obligation to Nazi victims," said Stuart Eizenstat, a former U.S. ambassador who was chief negotiator for the Claims Conference. "This ensures that Holocaust survivors, now in their final years, can be confident that we are endeavoring to help them live in dignity, after their early life was filled with indescribable tragedy and trauma. This is all the more impressive since it comes at a time of budget austerity in Germany."

The agreement includes language that changes regulations governing compensation for survivors of Nazi ghettos, Der Speigel said. Until now, Claims Conference pension programs were available to survivors who were in "closed" ghettos, or those surrounded by a wall. Negotiators said they agreed to extend compensation to survivors of ghettos that were not walled but were similar to closed ghettos.

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