Germany to pay Holocaust survivors over $1 billion in reparations. Here's where the money will go.
Over 128,000 people will receive some form of compensation.
The youngest Holocaust survivors are now in their late ‘70s, and the challenges that come with aging mean their needs have never been greater. That’s why the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany has agreed with the German Federal Ministry of Finance to provide $1.4 billion in direct compensation and social welfare services for survivors across the globe.
The agreement will bring the overall compensation that Germany has paid in Holocaust reparations to over $81 billion.
More than 128,000 Holocaust survivors will receive annual payments for the next 4 years of $1,370 per person for 2024, $1,424 for 2025, $1,479 for 2026 and $1,534 for 2027. The agreement also provides tens of millions for Holocaust education.
As the number of people who witnessed the Holocaust first-hand goes down every year, the greater the need to keep their memories alive to prevent it from happening again.
The beneficiaries of these payments are primarily survivors from the former Soviet Union who escaped the clutches of the Einsatzgruppen, the mobile execution squads of the Nazis tasked with annihilating whole Jewish populations. These units killed over 1 million Jewish people, mainly through mass shootings of hundreds and sometimes thousands of people at a time.
Claims Conference Delegation for negotiations with the German government
Nearly $105.2 million in compensation will go to home care programs to address survivors’ increased needs through 300 social welfare programs in 83 countries. These agencies will provide in-home care, food packages, medical needs and transportation for survivors in need.
“Every year, these negotiations become more and more critical as this last generation of Holocaust survivors age and their needs increase,” Greg Schneider, Executive Vice President of the Claims Conference, said in a press release. “Being able to ensure direct payments to survivors in addition to the expansions to the social welfare services we are able to fund is essential in making sure every Holocaust survivor is taken care of for as long as it is required, addressing each individual need.”
The reparations agreed upon by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the German Federal Ministry of Finance are a continuation of 71 years of the historic Luxembourg Agreements. The agreements were the first time in history that a defeated power compensated civilians for loss and suffering.
Train tracks leading to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
The atrocities of the Holocaust are beyond any measure of compensation, but the agreements highlight Germany’s commitment to take responsibility for Nazi atrocities.
“I am inspired that, as shown by the extraordinary results we have achieved this year, so many decades after the end of World War II, far from waning, the German government and its people continue to feel a deep responsibility to provide additional care to Holocaust survivors,” Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, Special Negotiator for the Claims Conference Negotiations Delegation, said in a press release.
“It has been nearly 80 years since the liberation of Auschwitz and the need to negotiate for survivor care and compensation is more urgent than ever,” Eizenstat continued. “Every negotiation is a near-last opportunity to ensure survivors of the Holocaust are receiving some measure of justice and a chance at the dignity that was taken from them in their youth. It will never be enough until the last survivor has taken their last breath.”