Germany Agrees to Give Holocaust Survivors $664 Million in Coronavirus Aid
Holocaust survivors scattered across the globe will soon receive an extra $664 million in aid from Germany as a means of easing their strife amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, a nonprofit that provides “a measure of justice” to Jewish Holocaust victims, announced Wednesday that recent negotiations with the German government had secured the extra payments, which will be metered out over two years.
Approximately 240,000 survivors will receive two payments each of $1,400 beginning in December, the Claims Conference said. Most of those survivors live in Israel, North America, the former Soviet Union and Western Europe.
“This new agreement will benefit tens of thousands of the poorest survivors alive,” Greg Schneider, Claims Conference’s executive vice president, said in a statement. “As survivors age their needs grow greater and our persistence does not diminish; we continue to achieve increases in compensation and social welfare services at the same time.”
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According to the Claims Conference, many survivors live in poverty, and as the coronavirus can severely affect elderly people, the pandemic has resulted in “an onslaught of health, emotional and financial hurdles.”
The group said the aid from Germany will help Nazi victims get groceries, personal protective equipment and other necessities, and cover delivery fees so they can stay home.
The German government will also expand the categories of survivors eligible to receive the compensation so that victims from 27 “open ghettos” in Bulgaria and Romania are included.
“These increased benefits achieved by the hard work of our negotiation’s delegation during these unprecedented times, will help our efforts to ensure dignity and stability in survivors’ final years,” President Gideon Taylor said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the negotiations also resulted in a $36 million increase over last year in funding for social welfare services for Holocaust survivors.
Claims Conference currently funds in-home care for more than 83,000 survivors, and helps an additional 70,000 with services like food, medicine and transportation to doctors.
The Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, and killed 6 million Jewish men, women and children in an attempt to create a “racially superior” state, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.