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Germany boosts funding to Holocaust survivors

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BERLIN (JTA) — Germany will nearly double its funding for home health care to aging Holocaust survivors.

Annual negotiations between the Claims Conference and the German Ministry of Finance concluded Wednesday with the announcement that Germany will provide some $77 million toward home care and social services this year, up from about $40 million in 2009.

The agreement is "a major step forward in addressing vital social welfare needs for the poorest of Jewish Holocaust victims living around the world," Stuart Eizenstat, the Claims Conference’s special negotiator, said in a statement to JTA.

In all, Germany signed off on $125 million toward programs to aid aging survivors. The funding comes at a time when many survivors are most in need, but when other restitution-related funding is on the decline, according to the Claims Conference.

"We are pleased that we can provide additional services to 50,000 of the poorest and most disabled Holocaust survivors around the world," Gregory Schneider, executive vice president of the Claims Conference, told JTA.

Many survivors prefer to receive care at home, Schneider said. A recent study showed that survivors, even more than the general population, tend to fear the loss of control that institutionalization brings.

In 2009, the Claims Conference spent $170 million, including the German contribution, on social services for Holocaust victims living in 43 countries.

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