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Germany and Claims Conference Enhance Financial Support for Holocaust Survivors and Educational Programs

Boost in Financial Support for Holocaust Survivors and Education.

Holocaust survivors worldwide will receive an additional $114 million in support each year for the next two years, thanks to recent negotiations between the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the German federal government.

"The number of Holocaust survivors is going down. But as survivors age, their needs grow—home care needs, social needs," explained Gideon Taylor, president of the Claims Conference. He emphasized that communicating and demonstrating the increasing needs of survivors was a crucial part of the discussions with the German government.

Taylor described the funding increase as “significant,” particularly in the current challenging economic climate. The German Finance Ministry will allocate $972.5 million for social welfare services for survivors from 2025-26. Additionally, $55 million more will be dedicated to Holocaust education over the next four years, bringing the total to $177 million.

Direct compensation payments will decrease by $40 million in 2025 due to the declining number of living survivors. Nevertheless, one-time payments and monthly pensions are expected to total $500 million next year.

Hanan Simhon, vice president at Selfhelp Community Services’ Holocaust Survivors Program, noted that the increased funding will substantially support addressing the unmet needs of approximately 5,200 survivors, particularly in home care. This assistance is vital for helping survivors remain in their communities with dignity and independence.

Simhon expressed gratitude for the financial boost, acknowledging it as sufficient for current needs. However, he highlighted the ongoing challenge as more survivors seek services for the first time, creating unknown needs for the German government and the Claims Conference.

Not everyone is satisfied with the funding levels, even with the increases. David Schaecter, president of the Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA, criticized the new funds as insufficient. He described a "massive shortfall" in long-term care funding and condemned Germany and the Claims Conference for not fully supporting indigent Holocaust survivors.

Schaecter questioned why Germany does not cover 100% of the home care and emergency needs of Holocaust survivors, arguing they deserve complete support given their immense suffering.

Taylor noted that the Claims Conference is also focusing on future needs, especially in Holocaust education, as the number of survivors dwindles. With rising antisemitism and surveys showing limited youth knowledge about World War II and the Holocaust, enhancing education is crucial.

“There’s certainly an awareness on the part of the German government that Germany has a unique role to play in supporting and enhancing Holocaust education,” Taylor stated. The increased funding is not just about assisting survivors but also about ensuring their legacy is preserved through education.

“It is essential that survivors know their own legacy of survival and the history of their family, friends, and lost communities will be carried forward by future generations,” Taylor added.

Discoveries like this underscore the ongoing commitment to supporting Holocaust survivors and ensuring their stories are remembered. Share this article or subscribe to our newsletter for updates on vital initiatives.