The German government has said that it will give a one-time grant of 2,000 to Holocaust survivors who suffered from exploitation as forced laborers in ghettos during World War II.
In discussions held between German Finance Ministry officials and Israel’s Pensioners Affairs minister, Rafi Eitan, Israel had rejected Germany’s initial offer of 1,200 to each forced laborer, demanding an increase in the offer. The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports that the increase came as a result of an intervention by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
“The payment agreed today is not compensation for being interned in ghettos. It is a humanitarian gesture,” a German government spokesman told a news conference in Berlin. Germany’s decision applies to some 64,000 ghetto survivors who have not been compensated by insurance companies for their forced labor during the Holocaust, as was required under a 2002 law. The grant recipients will include former forced laborers who have not yet received compensation from a fund set up by German industry and the government. Germany said applications could be sent immediately to Germany’s Federal Office for Central Services and Unresolved Property Issues (BADV) in Bonn.