More Holocaust survivors eligible for payment
Thousands of Holocaust survivors who lived in wartime ghettos or were otherwise in hiding during the war are now eligible for compensation from Germany, the non-profit organization negotiating on their behalf announced Monday.
The New York-based Claims Conference said it reached a $650 million agreement with the German government that will provide monthly pensions to about 16,000 Jewish victims of Nazi persecution.
"For some of the people, the money is the difference between rent and food," said Greg Schneider, executive director of Claims Conference.
Schneider said the agreement covers Holocaust survivors who lived in Jewish ghettos, were in hiding, or who took on false Christian identities during the war. He said eligibility is determined through an application process that involves comparing pre-war documents such as school or employment records with the survivor's post-war location.
Schneider said in some cases they rely on a process of elimination because it isn't possible to provide proof of a survivor's wartime location, such as in the case of someone who hid in the woods.
"By process of elimination, they couldn't have been in other places," he said. "If they weren't in camps and they weren't in ghettos, they had to have been hiding because Jews were hunted down and they were killed. They were targeted for extermination."
Under the agreement, Germany will provide monthly pensions worth between roughly $320 and $400.
Schneider estimates that about 75,000 or 80,000 Holocaust survivors worldwide receive payment from Germany. He said the additional 16,000 victims is the largest expansion of the program in about 20 years.
Schneider said the importance of the agreement for Holocaust survivors goes far beyond the money.
"The recognition, the validation of what they went through, even after all of these years is incredibly important," Schneider said. "It's closure, it's acknowledgement, and psychologically, it's hugely important."
Popular on CBSNews.com
- Toronto mayor: I don't smoke crack cocaine
- Photos of the week 22 Photos
- 2 men from diverted Pakistani flight into U.K. arrested
- Graphic video: Man dead in "truly shocking" London attack Play Video
- Bangladesh slum life 13 Photos
- Deadly car bombing at aid group's house in Kabul
- Tokyo's rockabilly scene 16 Photos
- Muslim hard-liners ID suspect in London attack