Germany to spend £450m to help Holocaust victims amid due to Covid

Germany will spend £450million to help 240,000 Holocaust victims around the world struggling due to coronavirus

  • Survivors suffer medical issues due to poor treatment in their early life  
  • Many are isolated, having lost their families, and suffer psychological problems 
  • Each survivor will receive two payments of £1,082 over the next two years

Germany will spend £450million to help 240,000 Holocaust victims across the world struggling under the burdens of the coronavirus.  

The funds, which will be delivered in the form of two 1,200 euros (£1,082) donations to each survivor over the next two years, will go to approximately 240,000 people around the world, primarily in Israel, North America, the former Soviet Union and Western Europe. 

With the end of World War II now 75 years in the past, Holocaust survivors are all elderly, and because many were deprived of proper nutrition when they were young today they suffer from numerous medical issues. 

In addition, many live isolated lives having lost their entire families and also have psychological issues because of their persecution under the Nazis. 

A picture taken just after the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviet army in January, 1945, shows a group of children wearing concentration camp uniforms behind barbed wire fencing in the concentration camp

‘There’s this kind of standard response for survivors, that ‘we’ve been through worse, I’ve been through worse and if I survived the Holocaust, through the deprivation of food and what we had to go through, I’ll get through this,’ said Greg Schneider, of the New York-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany – also referred to as the Claims Conference.

‘But if you probe deeper you understand the depths of trauma that still resides within people.’

Many are also on the poverty line, and the additional costs of masks and other protective gear, delivery groceries and other pandemic-related expenses has been crushing for many, Schneider said.

‘You’re teetering between making it every month,’ he said. ‘Having to decide between food, medicine and rent.’

The new funds are targeted to Jews who aren’t receiving pensions already from Germany, primarily people who fled the Nazis and ended up in Russia and elsewhere to hide during the war.

Schneider said about 50 per cent of Holocaust survivors in the US live in Brooklyn and were particularly hard-hit when New York was the centre of the American outbreak, but now numbers are looking worse in Israel and other places.

‘It’s a rolling calamity,’ he said.

In this Friday, June 5, 2009 file photo flowers are seen at a memorial on the location of Little Camp at the Buchenwald concentration camp in Buchenwald, German

Each of those survivors will receive two payments of 1,200 euros (£1,082) over the next two years, for an overall commitment of approximately 564 million euros (£508million) to some of the poorest survivors alive today.

The funds come on top of an emergency £3.3million the Claims Conference distributed in the spring to agencies providing care for survivors. 

In addition to the coronavirus-related funds, Germany agreed in the recently concluded round of annual negotiations to increase funding for social welfare services for survivors by 30.5 million euros (£2.75million), to a total of 554.5 million (£498million) for 2021, the Claims Conference said.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment on the latest round of negotiations.

The money is used for services including funding in-home care for more than 83,000 Holocaust survivors and assisting more than 70,000 with other vital services, including food, medicine, transportation to doctors and programs to alleviate social isolation.

As a result of negotiations with the Claims Conference since 1952, the German government has paid more than £61.4billion in Holocaust reparations.

Part of the Claims Conference’s annual negotiations also includes working with Germany to expand the number of people eligible for compensation.

This year, the German government agreed to recognize 27 ‘open ghettos’ in Bulgaria and Romania, enabling survivors who were in those places to receive compensation payments.

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