Holocaust Ghetto Workers Get Retroactive Pensions

Germany Agrees on Average $20K Payout to Jews

getty images


Published April 09, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Germany has approved retroactive pension payments, going back to 1997, to all Holocaust survivors who worked in Nazi ghettos.

The aim was to find a more just compensation for both slave laborers and those who were paid something at the time.

The Federal Cabinet announced the change on Monday. The amended ghetto pension law, which is to come into force this summer, will affect about 40,000 Holocaust survivors, about 13,000 of them in Israel.

The decision to act as quickly as possible came out of “a sense of historical responsibility for Holocaust survivors, who experienced untold suffering under National Socialism,” the government said in a statement.

“None of us today can imagine any more what it meant to work under inhumane conditions in a National Socialist ghetto,” Federal Minister of Social Affairs Andrea Nahles said. “And yet there are still tens of thousands among us who were forced to endure this harsh fate” and had to wait until 2002 for any kind of pension.

The payments affect former ghetto workers who have filed an application for a pension. Previously, they could only claim a maximum of four years in back payments from the time of filing. Some applicants were rejected, only to be accepted after a lengthy review process, the government noted.

Now, applicants will receive retroactive payments back to 1997: “And quickly, with no red-tape,” Nahles added. “It is important that we have found a mutually acceptable resolution, after so many years.”

Eligible survivors can have their pension payment adjusted according to two formulas: either the newly calculated pension including a back payment and a slightly lower monthly rent, or a slightly increased monthly pension, but no back payment.

The average payment per person would be about $20,500, Der Spiegel magazine reported earlier this year.

German pension funds will be required to write to all known eligible survivors about the change in the law, whenever possible in their native language.

The announcement follows Germany’s annual Cabinet talks with their Israeli counterparts, an exchange that German Chancellor Angela Merkel initiated in 2008.

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Find us on Facebook!
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.