On the photo: Special Negotiator Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat speaking during 2018 negotiations with the German government. Photo: Jason Colston (Claims Conference)
The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), announced that, in an important achievement for survivors, first-time pensions have been allotted for Holocaust survivors who survived the Leningrad Siege as well as survivors who were in hiding in France and those who survived persecution in Romania, who are not currently receiving Shoah related pensions.
Gideon Taylor, President of the Claims Conference said, “Every year these negotiations become more and more critical, as this last generation of survivors age, their needs increase. We are thrilled to be able to expand the criteria for survivors again this year, including the first-time pensions for nearly 6,500 survivors. Even 75 years after the Holocaust, these symbolic payments provide recognition and restore a piece of the dignity taken from survivors in their youth.”
The newly negotiated region-specific pension program is open and currently receiving applications. Payments will be €375 ($443) per month.
“We welcome this decision and express our gratitude for the work carried out by our colleagues at the Claims Conference. Caring for survivors of the Holocaust and the most difficult events of World War II is an important part of the work of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress. We support several organizations uniting World War II veterans living in Israel, including the Union of the Siege of Leningrad in Israel, and this is certainly great news for those who went through those terrible events and need support, “said the EAJC General Director and member of the Board of Directors of Claims Conference Dr. Haim Ben Yakov.
Earlier the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress supported the initiative of the Council of Veterans of the Second World War and the Union of the Siege of Leningrad in Israel to establish a monument dedicated to the heroes and victims of the Leningrad Siege in Jerusalem. The Candle of Remembrance Monument was unveiled on January 23, 2020 with the participation of senior officials from Israel and Russia.
150 thousand Jews shared the fate of the inhabitants of besieged Leningrad, many went to the front, about 70 thousand died. Today in Israel there are more than 1,300 Leningrad Siege survivors. At the opening ceremony of the monument, EAJC President Michael Mirilashvili, together with the head of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center Viktor Vekselberg, announced the start of a special program aimed at preserving historical memory and deepening mutual understanding between peoples.
Under the program, the book “Pages of the Siege Memories”, composed of the memories of people who survived the siege of Leningrad in childhood was translated into Hebrew and distributed to universities, schools and libraries in Israel. The book was also presented to 30 Knesset members.