German ‘ghetto pension’ requests to be re-evaluated


BERLIN (JTA) — Nearly 70,000 rejected German Social Security claims from Holocaust survivors are to be reopened.

A monitoring group established by the Claims Conference and German Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs will check claims turned down since 2002, with the oldest claimants being processed first, according to statement issued Tuesday by the Claims Conference.

The re-evaluations follow years of lobbying and three court decisions this summer that liberalized payment criteria for Germany’s 2002 "ghetto pension" law, which applies to survivors of Nazi occupied or incorporated ghettos who performed "voluntary and remunerated work."

The Claims Conference, which does not process or administer the claims, joined with other survivor organizations to press for the changes because "inconsistent and overly strict interpretation of eligibility criteria by local German authorities resulted in widespread denial of claims."

As of now, the kind of payment received for work in ghettos — such as money,  food or clothes — is no longer a decisive factor, and remuneration need not have been provided directly to the claimant. In addition, ghettos in Transnistria are to be covered.

Only those already receiving pensions must apply in writing if they think a reassessment is in order.

More information is available on the Claims Conference Web site.

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