Holocaust survivors from Leningrad among 6,500 now eligible for German pensions

Some 6,500 Holocaust survivors who lived through the siege of Leningrad, hid in Nazi-occupied France or survived persecution in Romania are newly eligible to receive pension allowances from Germany, it was announced Wednesday.

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), which negotiates reparations, restitution and other compensation claims on behalf of Holocaust victims, said in a statement that the survivors will receive a monthly stipend for the first time with a value of $443.

The organisation said that payments would be made to Jewish victims of the Nazis who lived for at least three months in the Siege of Leningrad or lived for at least three months between April 1, 1941 and August 31, 1944 under occupation in Romania.

The third group eligible were those who lived at least three months in hiding in France, including those with access to the outside world. The organization stated as an example Jews in southern France who were able to move around during the day but hid at night when deportations took place.

Those who were children at the time — born after 1928 and meeting the criteria — will receive a one-time payment of $2,930.

Gideon Taylor, president of the Claims Conference, said in the statement that the payouts were increasingly crucial as survivors age, and helped to give them a little dignity.

“Every year these negotiations become more and more critical, as this last generation of survivors age, their needs increase. We are thrilled to be able to expand the criteria for survivors again this year, including the first-time pensions for nearly 6,500 survivors,” Taylor said. “Even 75 years after the Holocaust, these symbolic payments provide recognition and restore a piece of the dignity taken from survivors in their youth.”