Holocaust Restitution

Comprehensive documents for Compensation Programs are available online, issued by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

A number of compensation and restitution programs for Holocaust survivors and heirs of victims have application deadlines that need to be noted.

Any questions about individual programs should be directed through the contact information provided below. Please do not direct questions about these programs to the Claims Conference.

Further information is on the Claims Conference website, www.claimscon.org.

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The information presented herein is intended for information purposes only and as a general guide to certain issues involved in compensation and restitution in Europe. The information is not intended as legal advice. It is a summary of specific issues and does not represent a definitive or complete statement of the programs and policies of the governments or agencies mentioned. This guide may not address the special needs, interests and circumstances of individual applicants. The information is correct as of the date of this document, and this information may change subsequent to the said date. In addition, deadlines must be checked with the responsible agency. Individuals seeking specific information on a claim or program are urged to contact the relevant program or to consult their social service agency or help centre representative.

3,100 new Swiss bank depositors identified

Click here to see the names of the additional 3,100 Swiss bank depositors from the Nazi era who have been identified. Descendants can apply to recover these funds.

Claims Information for Canadian Survivors of the Holocaust

The Material Claims Conference Claims Conference Web Site, New York Office

Czech Republic Claims

For assistance in the process of re-possession of property in the Czech republic, and for assistance in locating Holocaust survivors: www.remember.org/unite/.

Ghetto Pension Claims to be Re-Opened: Claims Conference Secures Commitment from Germany

A Claims Conference delegation led by President Israel Singer met on March 17, 2004, with the German Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Ulla Schmidt, to discuss problems with the Ghetto Pension Law (ZRBG). The Claims Conference delegation raised concerns regarding the way the law was being interpreted by the regional pension authorities.

The Minister responded positively to the concerns and indicated that she would raise them with the independent authorities responsible for implementation of the law.

Since 1997, the German government has been awarding old age pensions to Holocaust survivors based upon work performed, for some form of salary, payment or benefit in Polish ghettos during World War II. In 2002, Germany expanded the existing legislation, enacting a Law for the Payment of Pensions for Periods of Employment in a Ghetto (Gesetz zur Zahlbarmachung von Renten aus Beschaftigungen in einem Ghetto, known as the ZRBG or "Ghetto Pension"). Former residents of any European Ghetto that was incorporated into, or annexed to the German Reich may now qualify, providing that certain work-related preconditions are met.

The "Ghetto Pension" is not awarded on the basis of slave or forced labor performed for the Nazis. Since survivors, however, went through various stages of persecution, it is possible to collect both the one-time payment for slave or forced labor (Claims Conference Program for Former Slave and Forced Laborers) and the ZRBG pension for compensated work. The two payments cover different work circumstances.

The Claims Conference has been actively engaged in assisting the survivor community to understand the new regulations and in pressing the German government for any interpretation or implementation of the new legislation that could secure this pension for as many survivors as possible. The Claims Conference intends to continue to press the German government on the interpretation of the law so all survivors who are eligible will receive the social security payments.

In meetings with the Claims Conference, the German Social Security Administration pledged that all Holocaust survivors who have applied and previously been rejected for German Social Security payments under the countrys "Ghetto Pension Law" (ZRBG) will have their cases reviewed by the end of 2010.

The Claims Conference met last week with German officials to urge more rapid processing of cases and retroactive payments to applicants and has been pressing these issues since court rulings in 2009 allowed re-evaluation of rejected applications. Today, the National Pension Board announced that if applicants are found to be entitled to a pension, in accordance with the court rulings, generally the payments will be backdated to January 1, 2005.

Following the decision in June 2009 of the German Federal Social Court (Bundessozialgericht) to allow reconsideration of claims for "ghetto pensions" from tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors previously rejected, the Claims Conference has been pressing for an expedited review of these applications. Out of 70,000 applicants, there remain 56,000 previously rejected applications from Holocaust survivors for review.

The applications will be processed according to the survivors date of birth in order to give priority to the oldest applicants.

Since the court rulings, 1,700 previously rejected applications have been approved. The German Social Security Administration has assured the Claims Conference that the rate of processing for the remaining 56,000 claims will be considerably faster in order to complete them by years end.

The 2009 court rulings relate to a number of issues of interpretation of the ghetto pension law, including the definition of "remuneration," "voluntary labor" and the existence of age limits. For an overview of the main issues, see the Claims Conferences website at www.claimscon.org/zrbgmain.

Prior to the court ruling, the Claims Conference had initiated a monitoring group established by the Ministry of Labor regarding implementation of the ZRBG law. The Claims Conference pressed for retroactive payments. In addition, the Claims Conference asked for re-opening of cases without re-submission of documents by claimants. The German Social Security Administration began proactively reviewing all rejected ZRBG/Ghetto Pension claims.

Applicants whose Ghetto Pension claims were denied do not need to request the re-opening of their claims in accordance with the court rulings of June 2009, nor do they have to contact the ZRBG offices in Germany to have their files reviewed.

However, applicants may contact the German Pension Board about the status of their claims and to inform the ZRBG office about changes of address, bank account etc.

Contact information for applicants depends on their current country of residence. Information on regional pension institutions is at www.claimscon.org/zrbgmain.

The "ZRBG 2009" Flyer prepared for distribution by Germanys Deustche Rentenversicherung- National Pension Board is available online and by clicking the following links in:
German, English, Russian, Czech, Slovakian, Hungarian, French, and Hebrew.

The Claims Conference will continue to press on this issue of great importance to so many survivors, and to keep you informed of developments. The Claims Conference will continue to make available all information pertinent to Holocaust survivors through help centers, social service agencies and on our website at www.claimscon.org.

German Social Security: Regional Pension Institutions

Frequently Asked Questions About German Social Security for Work in a Ghetto (ZRBG). Updated June 2009

The Claims Conference is not involved in the administration, implementation or processing of applications for this program.

The information presented herein is intended for information purposes only and solely as a general guide. The information is not intended as legal advice. It is a summary of specific issues and does not represent a definitive or complete statement of the programs and policies of the agencies or governments mentioned. The information may not address the special needs, interests and circumstances of individual recipients. Individual situations differ and recipients are urged to seek individual advice. Individuals seeking specific information on a program are urged to contact the relevant program or to consult their social service agency or help center representative. To the best of our knowledge the information is correct as of the date of this document and this information may change subsequent to the said date.

March 19, 2010

1,200 Claims Conference Obtains Doubled Funds from Germany for 2011 Social Aid: $145 Million to Help Holocaust Victims in 32 Countries

The Claims Conference has negotiated a historic agreement with the German government to provide €110 million (approximately $145 million) in 2011 for vital homecare services for Jewish Holocaust victims living around the world.

This is double the amount that the Claims Conference negotiated for 2010 and is the largest single amount ever negotiated for homecare for Holocaust victims. With restitution-related sources of funding on the decline, this agreement obtained by the Claims Conference is vital to addressing the growing social welfare needs of aging Holocaust survivors.

The Claims Conference will allocate the German government money worldwide to agencies in 32 countries that provide in-home nursing and vital help with basic activities of daily living such as eating, dressing, bathing, and other services that greatly ease the lives of elderly Holocaust victims and enable them to remain living in their own homes.

"We congratulate the government of Germany for recognizing its historic responsibility to Jewish Holocaust victims, whose advancing age has brought increased hardship to many," said Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, Claims Conference Special Negotiator. "In their final years, survivors who need care and services should not have to fear that they will be forgotten. Germany has been exemplary in facing its past, and the government has demonstrated its commitment to alleviating the plight of elderly victims who need the care that these funds will provide."

"With Holocaust victims all now elderly, the Claims Conference is dedicated to bringing them comfort, care, and dignity," said Chairman Julius Berman. "Our top priority is to continue obtaining funding to assist them in their final years. Aging Holocaust victims must know that the Claims Conference will work tirelessly on their behalf as long as needed."

The Claims Conference negotiating delegation comprises Special Negotiator Amb. Stuart Eizenstat; Holocaust survivor leaders Roman Kent, Ben Helfgott, Noach Flug, and Marian Turski; Rabbi Andrew Baker and Amb. Reuven Merhav; and Claims Conference Executive Vice President Greg Schneider and Special Consultant Saul Kagan.

Since 1995, the Claims Conference has been the foremost organization in the world in identifying and addressing the unique social welfare and health needs of Jewish victims of Nazism. In addition to the funds obtained from the German government, the Claims Conference allocates funds from various restitution-related sources, including the recovery of unclaimed Jewish property in the former East Germany; agreements with the governments of Austria and Hungary; the Swiss Banks Settlement; and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

For 2011, in total, the Claims Conference is allocating approximately $270 million for services to Nazi victims in 46 countries. Services from other sources of allocations include hunger relief, medical aid, winter assistance, transportation, help in applying for government benefits, and socialization opportunities to relieve loneliness.

Since 2004, the Claims Conference has negotiated with the German government for homecare funding, obtaining increased amounts each year. This agreement is the result of sustained efforts over 18 months by the Claims Conference negotiating delegation and staff.