The Claims Conference expressed its disappointment about today’s ruling of the highest German Social Court that most Holocaust survivors receiving so-called “Ghetto Pensions” from Germany (German Social Security for work in ghettos) will not get payments retroactive to 1997 as had been hoped.
Ghetto Pension back payments are made retroactively for four years, with a maximum dating back to 2005. The German Federal Social Court ruled that the 2002 legislation establishing Ghetto Pensions (ZRBG), calling for payments to be made in principle retroactively to 1997, does not supersede the four-year retroactive limit that has been used in accordance with general Social Security guidelines. However, the Bundestag is considering legislation that will make the Ghetto Pension payments retroactive to 1997.
“The Claims Conference regrets that the German Federal Court did not award Ghetto Pension payments dating back to 1997. Ghetto survivors endured the most horrific conditions possible while laboring just to stay alive. In their old age, these additional payments could help bring them the security and recognition that they were denied so many decades ago. We appeal to the German Government and to the German Bundestag to look for a political solution. Time is more than pressing to provide a measure of justice to these elderly survivors,” said Julius Berman, Claims Conference Chairman.
Ghetto survivors who have not yet applied for the Ghetto Pension should do so at once. Information on applying for the Ghetto Pension and the related one-time payments of the Ghetto Fund, and criteria, are at www.claimscon.org/ghettopension. These are not Claims Conference programs. Survivors must apply to the relevant German Social Security offices (DRV) listed on the Claims Conference website.
The Claims Conference is reaching out to survivors of Nazi ghettos and to the agencies that work with them in an effort to ensure that every potential claimant has a chance to claim both the Ghetto Fund one-time payment and the Ghetto Pension. Since 2010, the German government has been reconsidering more than 56,000 previously denied claims for the Ghetto Pension and will contact applicants whose claims have been accepted. All of these claims have now been reviewed.