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Claims Conference presses Germany on ghetto pensions

Germany has been rejecting most applications for ghetto pensions, according to the Claims Conference. After meetings this week with German officials, the group said 61,000 applications had been denied, out of 70,000 filed. The ghetto pension law, enacted in 1997 and expanded in 2002, covers survivors who were employed for remuneration during internment in Nazi ghettos annexed to the Third Reich. Such work periods count toward German Social Security. Pensions can be paid into foreign countries by the German agencies. “We are meeting with a wide range of German officials on this subject,” Claims Conference Executive Vice President Gideon Taylor told JTA in an e-mail. “We have been explaining the unfairness of the way the program has been implemented and have been pressing for a legislative resolution on this matter.” Updates will be posted on the Claims Conference Web site,, he said. Past problems faced by applicants include being told that their ghetto did not exist at the times claimed, or that certain categories of labor were excluded.