Historical justice for 8000 Romanian Jews

Thousands of Romanian citizens will be recognized by the German government as Holocaust survivors and will receive compensation.

Orly Harari ,

Women lighting a candle in memory of Elie Wiesel at the synagogue of Ordea in Romania
Women lighting a candle in memory of Elie Wiesel at the synagogue of Ordea in Romania
Lulian Cazacu/Moshe Milner

An Israeli delegation initiated by Minister of Social Equality Gila Gamliel reached a historic achievement on Thursday. The German government will recognize about 8,000 Romanian citizens living in Israel as Holocaust survivors.

This means that the German government will establish a huge budget of hundreds of millions of euros for the welfare of the survivors. The money will be given to the survivors in monthly allotments that, according to the criteria which will be formulated between the governments, will range from 100 to 200 euros.

This amount will also be paid to the survivors retroactively for the past 20 years, meaning that each survivor will receive an amount of NIS 96,000-192,000 in addition to the monthly allotment each survivor will receive from now on.

In a comprehensive calculation, the retroactive compensation alone can amount to NIS 1.53 billion, which will be divided among all the survivors. Moreover, heirs of Romanian Jews who were born after 1910 and died after June 1, 2002, can also claim compensation from the German government.

In addition, 8,000 Romanian citizens who will be recognized as Holocaust survivors will receive a monthly stipend from the Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority in the Ministry of Finance. According to the existing criteria, each of them will be entitled to a monthly stipend of NIS 2,000.

The recognition will be granted to veteran Romanian citizens from 20 different cities who were living in open ghettos (all those born until 1928) and/or working there, who immigrated to Israel after October 1, 1953, and who were not entitled to a monthly stipend from the Ministry of Finance.

As for the thousands of veteran citizens of Romania who are already entitled to a monthly stipend from the Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority in the Ministry of Finance, they will also be able to apply for a monthly pension from the Social Security Institute in Germany.

Over the last ten months, there have been very intensive negotiations between the governments of Israel and Germany, which dealt with the question of the definition of the 8,000 Romanian citizens as survivors of the Holocaust. The Israeli claim, which was recognized by the Germans as just, was based on a series of studies initiated and led by the Ministry for Social Equality.

"This is a day of historic justice, which comes after ten months of intensive negotiations," Minister Gamliel said. "The financial compensation will not restore the loss and can't take away the pain and tragedy, but it will significantly improve the welfare of thousands of survivors. We'll continue to work towards the recognition of thousands of survivors who have not yet been recognized, whether they are Romanian immigrants or are from other countries."

"The Israeli government has a duty and responsibility towards Holocaust survivors, their welfare and the justice to which they are entitled. As the Minister of Social Equality and as a daughter of Holocaust survivors, I am proud of the privilege to lead, together with the Foreign Ministry and the Claims Conference, the political efforts in this important field, and I'm full of hope and confidence that we'll reach further achievements."

List of cities in Romania: Jas, Butushan, Targu Morsh, Glatz, Fukshan, Tacos, Roman, Pietra Naymets, Brel, Wassloi, Alba Yulia, Costanza, Targu Nimesz.