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Manhattan's Claims Conference: Germany To Pay Pensions To 16K Holocaust Victims

NEW YORK (AP/CBSNewYork) - Germany has agreed to pay new pensions to about 16,000 Holocaust victims worldwide who survived wartime ghettos or were forced to hide from Nazi persecution.

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The agreement between the New York City-based Claims Conference and the German government was announced Monday.

Conference official Greg Schneider said it took a year of "hard-fought negotiations'' with German officials to reach the humanitarian deal.  The agreement will result in at least $650 million in additional Claims Conference payments over the next decade.

Prior to the negotiations, certain survivors were only eligible for pensions from the Claims Conference Article 2 Fund and the Central and Eastern European Fund (CEEF) if they had been in a ghetto, in hiding, or living under false identity for at least 18 months during the Nazi era, according to the Claims Conference. This minimum time period of persecution was part of the eligibility criteria established by the German government, and which the Claims Conference for years has been working to change.

Survivors are invited to apply, including those who lived in the ghetto in Budapest, Hungary, for the three months it existed.

According to its Website, the mission of the Claims Conference over its nearly 60-year history has always been to secure what we consider a small measure of justice for Jewish victims of Nazi persecution. We have pursued this goal since 1951 through a combination of negotiations, disbursing funds to individuals and organizations, and seeking the return of Jewish property lost during the Holocaust.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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