The German government has agreed to expand its funding of home care for Holocaust survivors and relax eligibility criteria for restitution programs, it was announced on Tuesday.
The agreement, which was reached after negotiations in Israel with the Claims Conference, will result in approximately $800 million in new funding for home care, including medicine and food, for Holocaust survivors from 2014 to 2017.
The funding will be received by 56,000 survivors in 46 countries, reported Army Radio. A third of these survivors – 22,000 – are Israelis, the report said.
In 2015, the amount will rise by 45 percent, to approximately $266 million, then to $273 million in 2016 and $280 million in 2017.
“This unprecedented amount of funding means that we can give Nazi victims around the world the aid that they desperately need as they grow more frail,” wrote former U.S. ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, who leads negotiations with Germany for the Claims Conference, in a letter to the Claim Conference’s board.
“That the agreement encompasses funding through 2017 underscores the German government’s ongoing commitment to Holocaust survivors. It is all the more impressive because it comes at a time of budget austerity in Germany,” he added.
Last week, a bipartisan group of United States lawmakers introduced a bill that would facilitate assistance for Holocaust survivors.
The legislation, which was introduced in both the House and the Senate, would add survivors to a priority list for social services outlined in the Older Americans Act.
In Israel, Finance Minister Yair Lapid announced last week that he would support legislation to allow additional Holocaust survivors to receive home nursing care from the state.
The program would cost the state tens of millions of shekels a year. The Ministerial Committee on Legislation has approved a bill on this, authored by MK Haim Katz (Likud), which will be brought for a preliminary vote at the Knesset plenum on Wednesday.
In April, Lapid announced that Israel will put another 100 million shekels per year toward care for Holocaust survivors. In total, an extra 400 million will go toward care for survivors until 2017.