Germany to pay $1b for homecare of ageing Holocaust victims

Updated: 2013-05-30 07:59


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BERLIN - Germany will pay around 800 million euros ($1.03 billion) over a four-year period for homecare for the ageing survivors of the Holocaust, a Jewish organisation said on Wednesday.

The Jewish Claims Conference, which represents Jews in negotiations on compensation for Nazi victims and their descendants, said some 56,000 Holocaust victims worldwide, over a third of them living in Israel, would benefit from the aid.

"We are seeing Germany's continued commitment to fulfil its historic obligation to Nazi victims," Stuart Eizenstat, the Claims Conference special negotiator, said in a statement on the organisation's website.

"This ensures that Holocaust survivors, now in their final years, can be confident that we are endeavouring to help them live in dignity, after their early life was filled with indescribable tragedy and trauma."

A German finance ministry spokesman confirmed the details of the compensation.

"This is all the more impressive since it comes at a time of budget austerity in Germany," added Eizenstat, a former US ambassador to the European Union.

The Claims Conference said it had worked closely with the German finance ministry to calculate the victims' needs.

In the negotiations, the two sides also agreed to widen the scope of existing pension programmes to include Jews who lived in "open ghettos", that is without walls but still in constant fear of deportation by the Nazis, the Claims Conference said.

The former West Germany acknowledged the murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime and began in 1952 to pay compensation eventually worth 3 billion marks (1.5 billion euros) to Israel.

In 1992, two years after West and communist East Germany reunited, they agreed to provide further restitution.

Last year, the German finance ministry said it would make one-off payments worth 2,556 euros each to Jewish victims of the Holocaust who had still not received any compensation. Many of them live in the former Soviet Union or eastern Europe.

The ministry also said it would pay a lifelong monthly pension worth 300 euros to Jews who had been interned in concentration camps or ghettos for three months or more or who had survived the Nazi regime by living in hiding or under a false identity for at least six months. ($1 = 0.7779 euros)