The German government announced on September 19, 2007 the establishment of a new fund to pay symbolic compensation for voluntary work in Holocaust-era ghettos.

The fund will issue one-time payments of €2,000 to Holocaust survivors who performed voluntary work in ghettos subject to criteria of the German government. The German government expects that 50,000 survivors will be eligible for payment.

In recent years, the Claims Conference has been pressing intensively the issue of the high rejection rate of cases filed under the German government’s social security Ghetto Pension Law (ZRBG).

The Claims Conference believes that the present response of Chancellor Merkel to create a special fund to make payments to Holocaust survivors who worked in Nazi ghettos is a positive step. It is important that, notwithstanding the establishment of this new fund, Holocaust survivors will continue to be able to pursue individual claims under the Ghetto pension law and that the existing rights of survivors will remain unaffected under the announced fund.

The Claims Conference believes that the maximum individual payment of €2,000 is not sufficient to compensate for the work carried out in a ghetto and that the criteria as currently proposed are unclear and are too restrictive. The Claims Conference hopes that they will be clarified and revised.

The Claims Conference will also continue to make all possible efforts to secure a more liberal application of the existing social security Ghetto pension law following recent German court decisions in favor of applicants.

Information issued by the German government is available in German at

It is expected that relevant translations will be soon made available by the German government.

The German government has announced that application forms will be available the week of September 24. By

Applicants may also write to BADV, 53221 Bonn, Germany. The telephone is +49-1888 7030-1324.

The Claims Conference is not involved in the administration, implementation or processing of Social Insurance pensions for the German government or its Social Security institutions or payments from this newly established fund. The information presented herein is intended for information purposes only and solely as a general guide. It is a summary of specific issues and does not represent a definitive or complete statement of the programs and policies of the agencies mentioned. To the best of our knowledge the information is correct as of the date of this document and this information may change subsequent to the said date- September 20, 2007.