Germany pegs $124M for Holocaust survivors

March 11, 2010 at 8:28 AM
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BERLIN, March 11 (UPI) -- Germany approved contributing $124 million to Holocaust survivors during the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany in Berlin, officials said.

Gregory J. Schneider, executive vice president of the annual claims conference, said the goal for this year's talks was to secure increased funds for home care services and pension payments, The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.

"You have elderly, poor survivors who are isolated and in (failing) health," Schneider said.

The Claims Conference funds home care for a "significant number of the 100,000 survivors who are both poor and have some level of disability," he said.

Stuart Eizenstat, a claims conference special negotiator, called Wednesday's agreement "a major step forward in addressing vital social welfare needs for the poorest of Jewish Holocaust victims living around the world."

Schneider said the Claims Conference sought to cancel "time limits" for survivor pensions, the Post said. Currently, survivors are entitled to pension payments only if they were imprisoned more than six months in a concentration camp and at least 18 months in a ghetto.

"One day in Auschwitz is an eternity of a hellish nightmare," Schneider said.

The German Finance Ministry agreed to review special hardship cases, he said.

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