A CONSIDERABLE number of Holocaust survivors living in Australia may be eligible for German compensation in a trio of key amendments recently secured by the Claims Conference.
JewishCare NSW manager of community aged services Keith Brown said the changes are significant – for the first time, survivors who fled for their lives from areas under threat of Nazi occupation which ultimately were not occupied by the Germans have gained recognition in the form of compensation.
The changes to the New York-based Claims Conference’s Hardship Fund, which began on January 1 this year, affect three groups – those who fled from unoccupied areas of the Soviet Union, citizens of certain Western European nations, and survivors of certain Soviet bloc countries who were orphaned in the Shoah.
First, Hardship Fund payments of €2556 ($A3134) will now be made to certain Jews who fled ahead of the advancing Nazi army from some areas of the Soviet Union that were not subsequently occupied by the Nazis. This is the first time the experience of Jews who fled for their lives is being recognised by Germany.
However, these payments will not be available to Nazi victims living in former Soviet bloc countries that do not belong to the European Union.
Second, Hardship Fund payments of €2556 may be made to eligible applicants who were citizens of certain Western European countries at the time of Nazi persecution and also at the time those countries signed a global agreement for compensation with Germany. Eligible applicants cannot have received a prior payment from a German source or from a global agreement.
Third, those born in 1928 or later and who lived in former Soviet bloc countries and lost both parents due to Nazi persecution may be eligible for a one-time payment of €1900 ($A2330).
Brown told The AJN: “If you knew the German army was advancing, you would have been scared and left as soon as you could, but they weren’t eligible for anything. Some people moved to Siberia or the Urals and lived out the rest of the war in hardship. It’s the first time they’ve opened the door for them, and we should be getting quite a few people coming through for that.”
He said previous applicants who have not changed their mail address need not reapply to be eligible for the compensation payments.
Enquiries: Helen Viknyansky at Jewish Care on (03) 8517 5999.