Holocaust survivors' spouses to receive compensation from Germany

Holocaust survivors' spouses to receive compensation from Germany

Up until now, anyone married to a Holocaust survivor would automatically stop receiving compensation payments in the event of their spouse’s death. Now, however, the German government has agreed to extend payments to surviving spouses.

Payments for Holocaust survivors’ spouses

Widows and widowers of Holocaust survivors will continue to receive compensation from the German government, an organisation representing the Jewish victims of Nazi persecution has announced. In a statement released on Monday, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany confirmed that the government has agreed to continue paying a pension to Holocaust survivors’ spouses up to nine months after the survivor's deaths. 

The change is expected to affect 30.000 people, and around 14.000 spouses can expect their compensation to be paid retroactively, according to Claims Conference negotiator Greg Schneider. “We have survivors who have been just getting by for many years,” he said. “This extra nine months of income gives a cushion for the family of the survivor to figure out how to deal with their new circumstances.”

At the same time, the German government also announced its intention to give money for the first time to non-Jews who helped Jewish people survive the Holocaust - so-called “Righteous Gentiles”. There are approximately 277 Righteous Gentiles still alive, many of whom are in need of financial assistance in old age.  

Holocaust compensation in Germany

Since 1952, the German government has paid out more than 71 billion euros in compensation to Jews who were persecuted by the National Socialist regime between 1933 and 1945. With these latest financial pledges, the German government has increased its spending on compensation by some 44 million euros - making the total outlay for 2020 around 524 million euros. 

The money helps more than 132.000 Holocaust survivors around the world, for instance by paying for in-home care. The benefits “help ensure dignity in survivors’ final years,” says Claims Conference President, Julius Berman. “It remains our moral imperative to keep fighting as long as there are still survivors with us.”



Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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