President of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) Julius Berman announced on Wednesday that Jewish survivors of the Holocaust era “death trains,” pogrom and subsequent open ghettos in Iasi, Romania, will be eligible to receive compensation pensions.
Since 1952, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) has represented world Jewry in negotiating for compensation and restitution for victims of Nazi persecution and their heirs. The Claims Conference administers compensation funds, recovers unclaimed Jewish property, and allocates funds to institutions that provide social welfare services to Holocaust survivors and preserve the memory and lessons of the Shoah.
The announcement follows the organisation’s early July negotiations with the German government.
Claims Conference Special Negotiator, Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, said “The horrors inflicted on the Jews of Iasi have finally been recognized more than 70 years later. These survivors endured unimaginable suffering. For those who are still with us, we have obtained a small measure of justice, even after all this time.”
Approximately 15,000 Jews were murdered between the Iasi pogrom and “death trains.” Some Jews who survived the massacre of the pogrom were forced onto train cars where they were left for days while the train travelled at an incredulously slow pace between towns, killing most of the occupants through suffocation, dehydration and madness. Those Jews left behind in Iasi were forced to live in a designated section of the town set up as an open ghetto, under curfew, in constant fear of deportation to labour camps, enduring regular beatings and cruelty by both German and Romanian soldiers.
Iasi survivor Frances Flescher said, “Jews from Romania, we went through hell, and they didn’t recognise it. We were persecuted and wore yellow stars and the hunger that we went through and everything. I don’t know every place, but I know in Iasi what we went through.”