CLAIMS CONFERENCE PROGRAMS

ARTICLE 2 FUND

During the summer, fall and winter of 2005 the Claims Conference announced new eligibility criteria obtained through negotiations with the German government. The criteria now include certain groups of survivors who had been excluded from receiving the Article 2 Fund pension according to the German guidelines. For the full eligibility criteria currently governing the Article 2 Fund, please go to our website at: www.claimscon.org/index.asp?url=article2/overview

In summary, the criteria changes affect the following survivor groups:

1. Survivors from Western European countries under certain conditions
For details, go to http://www.claimscon.org/index.asp?url=article2/west_pers

2. Survivors incarcerated in specific forced labor camps in Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. For details, go to http://www.claimscon.org/forms/N_Africa.pdf

3. Survivors in and from the Netherlands under certain conditions
For details, go to http://www.claimscon.org/index.asp?url=article2_ann_en

PLEASE NOTE: Since the Article 2 assistance is funded by the Federal Republic of Germany, payments to persons qualifying for Article 2 payments can only be made after the necessary funds have been approved in the German federal budget.

PROGRAM FOR FORMER SLAVE AND FORCED LABORERS
German Foundation “Rememberance Responsibility and the Futureâ€?

REMINDER: Final Payments from the German Foundation in 2006
All claims eligible to receive a payment from the German Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future,” will expire on September 30, 2006, as mandated by the German Foundation law. After September 30, 2006, the Claims Conference, under the law, may not make any more payments from the Foundation.
This time limit and notification concerns the following groups of persons. If you are uncertain whether you belong to any of these groups, please contact the Claims Conference.
· Applicants or their legal successors who received a notice that they were eligible for a payment from the Claims Conference but have not yet received the payment as they have moved without leaving a forwarding address.

· All persons who applied to the Claims Conference prior to the application deadline, and who have not yet received a notice informing him/her that the claim was approved or denied.

· All heirs and legal successors who are entitled to payment and have received an Heir Application Packet. Any recipient of the Packet should immediately submit any forms still required.
All such persons who are eligible for payment must contact the Claims Conference at once. If they do not contact the Claims Conference in time for the payment to be made by September 30, 2006, the payment shall be forfeited. Under the Foundation law, it is not possible to obtain payments after this date. Unless indicated otherwise in future announcements, all communications to the Claims Conference described above must be postmarked by March 31, 2006 and must arrive at the Claims Conference by April 14, 2006.
Note to Heirs: When a person eligible for payment dies, legal successors (heirs) of the deceased person must apply to the Claims Conference within six months of the death of the eligible person, otherwise entitlement to payment is forfeited
Appeals: In addition, all time limits related to appeals and to legal successors that have not expired as of September 30, 2006, terminate on that date.
Persons eligible for payment should do everything necessary to make it possible for the Claims Conference to make the payments within the deadline.
PLEASE NOTE:
THIS IS NOT A NEW APPLICATION DEADLINE. YOU MAY NOT SUBMIT A NEW APPLICATION FORM FOR PAYMENT FROM THE GERMAN FOUNDATION

Update on the Processing of Heir Claims
As the Program for Slave/Forced Laborers winds down, rejection letters for certain heir claims are being sent out.

These are claims where the Claims Conference mailed application forms according to information in our records but has not received a single completed application form back.

Rejection letters have been sent also on claims where the heirs missed the heir deadline informing us of the death of the eligible claimant (within 6 months of claimant’s death).

Because these are rejections, responses to these letters have to go through the APPEALS AUTHORITY. These claims should be appealed ASAP. To appeal, write to the Appeals Authority at the following address.

Claims Conference Appeals Authority Claims Conference Appeals Authority
P.O. Box 1232 – Old Chelsea Station or P.O.B. 45165
New York, NY, 10113-1232 USA 91450 Jerusalem, Israel

GERMANY

SOCIAL SECURITY PENSIONS

Recent Changes Affecting These Pensions
Until now, provisions of the German Social Security Code (Section 306) prohibiting reassessment of an existing social security pension have blocked survivors from receiving the “Ghetto Pension,â€? if they were awarded a small pension (such as a pension for Child Rearing Periods) before 1997. A recent ruling by Germany’s Federal Social Court provides the basis for the reassessment of some of these older pensions, allowing eligible survivors in this position to now also file for a Ghetto Pension.

What is the “Ghetto Pension”?
Since 1997, the German government has been awarding old age pensions to Holocaust survivors based upon work performed for some form of remuneration in Polish ghettos similar to Lodz during World War II. In 2002 Germany enacted supplemental legislation covering this wartime situation. This is the pension commonly known as the Ghetto Pension, or ZRBG in its German acronym. Since the 2002 legislation, the Claims Conference in conjunction with United States legislators and the Israeli government has been actively engaged in pressing the German authorities to resolve certain problems in the implementation of this pension. Our efforts to ensure that this and other German social insurance laws may benefit as many survivors as possible are ongoing with the newly installed government of Germany.

What are the Child-Rearing Pensions or Benefits?
Under German Social Insurance laws, certain pensions or benefits for child-rearing periods (Kindererziehungszeiten) may be claimed by individuals who have the requisite insured work credits. These work credits must have been gained during remunerated employment in Germany or on territory annexed into the Third Reich (such as a Nazi-occupied Ghetto), before, during or after the war. These laws have allowed certain survivors with the qualifying insured work contribution or credits to receive small pensions (between Euro 10- Euro 40 monthly per child) if their children were born before January 1, 1950 in Germany or during flight from Nazi persecution.

Other survivors can use child-rearing periods as work credits to increase payments received in conjunction with different German Social Security payments. Neither pensions nor benefits are transferable to the child.

June 30 2006 Deadline:
There is no deadline to request reassessment of a pre-1997 pension. However, in order to obtain a Ghetto Pension with retroactive payments going back to 1997, you must contact German Social Security by June 30, 2006.
Ghetto Pension applicants who were rejected solely on the basis of Section 306 should contact their German Social Security office for a re-assessment and a new Ghetto Pension application. Please note that the laws governing German Social Security are complex. Individuals are urged to seek specialized legal assistance. A list of free or low-fee legal services is here included (see “Assistanceâ€?)

· How to Apply to the Ghetto Pension or the Child Rearing Payments:
The Claims Conference is not involved in the administration or implementation of German Social Security. To contact the German Social Security Administration, write to the following address to state that you wish to file a Ghetto Pension or Child Rearing claim. No special application form is necessary. It is not necessary to describe work performed or work location.
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund /German Social Insurance Board
10704 Berlin
Germany
www.deutsche-rentenversicherung-bund.de/
· How to Request Reassessment If You Already Receive a Pension:
If you already receive a small pension from German Social Security (such as the pension for Child Rearing Periods) and it was awarded to you before July 01, 1997, the date on which the Ghetto Pension law was passed, you may now be eligible to apply for the Ghetto Pension by asking for a pension reassessment from your German Social Security office.
Write to your German Social Security office and include your German Social Security number (VSNR or Versicherungsnummer).

· How to Contact the German Social Security Agencies
The German Social Insurance system was re-organized in October 2005 and is now overseen by the central Federal Pension Insurance Association (Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund). The regional pension institutions – formally known as the Landesversicherungsanstalten or LVA – have new names.
Following is an updated list of some of some of the regional agencies. Note that foreign pensions are administered according to country of current residence:
Residents of Great Britain, Ireland, United States, Canada/Quebec:
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Nord
Standort Hamburg
(Formally LVA Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg)
Friedrich-Ebert-Damm 245
22159 Hamburg, Germany
Tel.: 49-40-5300-0
Fax: 49-40-5300-2999
Residents of Belgium, Israel, Chile, Spain or Countries with No Agreement With Germany:
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Rheinland
(Formally LVA Rheinprovinz)
40194 Dusseldorf, Germany
Tel: (49-211) 937-0
Fax: (49-211) 937-3096
Residents of Bulgaria, Hungary, States of the FSU excluding Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania:
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Mitteldeutschland
Standort Erfurt
(Formally LVA Thürigen)
Kranichfelder Strasse 3
99097 Erfurt, Germany
Tel.: 49-361-482-0
Fax 49-361-482-2299
Residents of European Union may submit claim requests through their local Pension Insurance institution.

· Getting Assistance
Because of the complexities of the German social insurance law, it is advisable to seek specialized assistance. Some of these services are listed below:
Free Assistance & Legal Services
· United States:
Bet Tzedek Legal Services (Los Angeles)
Tel: (323) 939-0506
Fax: (323) 549-5880
Email: info@bettzedek.org
www.bettzedek.org
· New York Legal Assistance Group
The Holocaust Project
Tel: (212) 750-0800
Fax: (212) 750-0820
Email: Ldavis@nylag.org;
www.nylag.org
· Israel:
Information Center for Holocaust Survivors in Israel
(in collaboration with the National Insurance Institute)
Tel: 972-3-519-4401 or 519-4455
Fax: 972-3-516-6794
www.claimsinfo.org
· Specialized Not-for-Profit Legal Services at moderate fees:
United Restitution Organization
Frankfurt: Tel: (49-69) 713 7790 – Fax: (49-69) 713 77920
Tel Aviv: Tel (972-3) 517-0204; Fax (972-3) 517-0655
New York: Tel (212) 921-3860; Fax (212) 575-1918
Toronto: Tel (416) 630-2920; Fax (416) 630-1885

HUNGARY

HUNGARIAN GOLD TRAIN SETTLEMENT

The first funds from a $25 million class-action settlement between Hungarian Holocaust survivors and the U.S. government have been distributed to social service agencies for the benefit of needy Hungarian survivors. The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) allocated $4.2 million to 27 agencies in seven countries. A list of agencies and guidance on obtaining assistance can be found at www.hungariangoldtrain.org and www.claimscon.org.

Each agency will have a Holocaust survivor advisory committee to assist in the distribution of the funds. This model has been used effectively by the Claims Conferences in the other social service programs for survivors that it funds. The Claims Conference allocated the funds in accordance with the court-approved plan it developed. A total of approximately $21 million will be distributed to social service agencies over five years. Class Members (survivors included in the Settlement) who are eligible for social service assistance are Jews who were born before May 8, 1945 who lived in the 1944 borders of Greater Hungary some time between 1939 and 1945, and who are in need of financial assistance. The Settlement does not provide for direct payments to Class Members as compensation for property lost on the Hungarian Gold Train.

BELGIUM

NEW COMPENSATION FUND ANNOUNCED

March 31, 2006 Deadline To File a Claim

Jewish Foundation of Belgium
The Jewish Foundation of Belgium (Fondation du Judaïsme de Belgique) has announced the intention to establish a compensation fund for certain Jewish survivors of the Shoah in Belgium who have received no compensation or less than 3000 Euro to date under Belgian or German property restitution programs.

To access the foundation’s announcement (in French) go to: http://www.claimscon.org/index.asp?url=belgium#jfb

The fund would be endowed with certain monies from the non-distributed assets remaining in the Belgian Indemnification Commission (also known as the Commission Buysse) when all claims filed through the Commission have been paid out. The older survivors will have priority. Certain prior payments may be deducted from the eventual payment, as applicable. Any person who survived in Belgium, regardless of present or past nationality or duration of stay in Belgium during the war, may be able to receive compensation from the foundation if eligible and should contact the fund as soon as possible.

The deadline to file a request for compensation is March 31, 2006.

To obtain an application form, contact:
Fondation du Judaïsme de Belgique
Avenue Ducpetiaux 68
1060 Brussels, Belgium.
Telephone 32 (0)2 53845 00

The application form may also be downloaded from the following web address:
http://www.americangathering.com/wp-content/BELGIANFORM.pdf