The Claims Conference is very pleased to announce significant changes in the eligibility criteria for Holocaust survivor pensions from the Claims Conference Article 2 Fund. After long and hard-fought negotiations with the German government, Article 2 pensions may now be paid to thousands of additional survivors whose persecution history was previously not recognized by German criteria for this program. Full criteria are at Claims Conference web site.
The special pensions being paid to eligible survivors who were in a ghetto for 3 to 11 months will increase to €300 per month and become a standard Article 2 Fund payment. The requirement that a survivor had to be age 75 or over to receive this special payment has been abolished.
The Claims Conference also negotiated to reduce the time from 12 months to 6 months that victims had to have lived in hiding or under false identity in Nazi-occupied territories in order to be eligible for Claims Conference pensions. This will make up to 5,000 survivors eligible for monthly pensions, affecting primarily survivors persecuted in Hungary, Italy, France, Greece, and Slovakia. This follows a change in the criteria negotiated in November 2011 that reduced the time in hiding or living under false identity from 18 to 12 months.
To summarize, Article 2 pensions may now be paid to survivors who were in a concentration camp, labour camp or labour battalion; in a ghetto for 3 months or longer; or in hiding or living under false identity for at least 6 months in Nazi-occupied territory or for at least 12 months in satellite states; and who meet all other criteria of the program.
Questions about eligibility for individual survivors, or about the programs, can be directed to the Claims Conferences services department at 646-519-8011 or by email.
Over the past year, Claims Conference negotiations with the German government have substantially altered the contours of other compensation programs available to Holocaust victims. Survivors living in Eastern Europe who get pensions from the Central and Eastern European Fund are now receiving the same amount paid from Article 2, a long-sought goal of the Claims Conference. Along with the changes in the pension programs, there will be one-time payments made for the first time to an estimated 80,000 Nazi victims in the former Soviet Union, who have never before received any compensation to acknowledge their persecution.
Although these programs in Eastern Europe do not affect survivors in the U.S. and Canada, we know that you would be pleased to learn that the Claims Conference continues to advocate for Holocaust victims everywhere and to seek recognition for all. These historic changes to compensation programs have gone a long way toward ensuring that every Holocaust victim is able to receive payment, but there is still more to be done and the Claims Conference will continue working for as long as needed on behalf of survivors.