The German government has agreed to provide additional financial assistance for child survivors of the Holocaust, who are suffering increasing problems associated with malnutrition and psychological trauma when they were young.
The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany said the agreement reached with the Finance Ministry late Wednesday would provide one-time payments of 2,500 euros ($3,280) for Jewish children who were in concentration camps, ghettos or spent at least six months in hiding.
The Claims Conference didn’t say how many might be affected, but it’s thought that tens of thousands of survivors might qualify for the payments. The Finance Ministry on Thursday confirmed the agreement but refused to provide further details.
Claims Conference executive vice president Greg Schneider said Jewish children survivors had to endure serious undernourishment, sometimes for years, among other physical harm. Some were witness to “unimaginable atrocities.”
“A range of injurious experiences has had a cumulative effect … resulting in late-onset problems that are only now manifesting as physical and psychological symptoms in the survivors’ advanced age,” Schneider said in a statement.
Because so many survivors lost most, if not all, relatives in the Holocaust, many lack support in their old age.
The agreement, which still has to be approved by the German Parliament but isn’t expected to meet any political resistance, will provide the one-time payment for special psychological and medical care to Nazi victims born Jan. 1, 1928 or later. That would have made them at oldest 11 at the start of the war, and 17 by its end.
The payment would come in addition to any other compensation they have received, and the fund is expected to become operational Jan. 1.
In total, Germany has paid around 70 billion euros ($95 billion) in compensation for Nazi crimes, primarily to Jewish survivors.
Compensation has evolved continuously since Germany agreed in 1952 to make payments, with annual negotiations between the Claims Conference and the German government on who should receive funds and how much will be paid.