Germany has agreed to provide restitution payments to an additional 80,000 Jews, following negotiations on Monday between Claims Conference representatives and German officials in Washington.
The agreement is likely to result in additional payments of approximately $300 million, most of which will go to Nazi victims in the former Soviet Union who have never received payments or compensation from previous German restitution agreements.
Most of the money will be distributed from the Claims Conference’s Hardship Fund, which grants one-off payments $3,150 to Jews who fled the horrors of the Nazi regime.
Until now, those payments were not available to Jews in Ukraine, Russia and other non-European Union countries in Eastern Europe. Applications for the fund will be available starting Nov. 1.
Claims conference officials described the agreement as an historic breakthrough.
Germany also agreed to level the monthly pensions it sends to survivors living around the world, correcting a long time disparity in the distribution of funds in which survivors living in western countries received more than those living in eastern countries. All survivors will now receive the equivalent of approximately $370 per month.
The eligibility requirements for restitution have also been relaxed. Until now, only those who went into hiding for at least 12 months were eligible for restitution. Now, however, Germany has agreed to compensate those who were forced into hiding for six months.