Germany donates $720 million to Holocaust survivors worldwide national politics

By KIRSTEN GRIESHABER – Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) – The organization that handles claims on behalf of Jews who suffered under the Nazis said Wednesday that Germany has agreed to allocate an additional $720 million to provide home care and support services for to provide frail and vulnerable Holocaust survivors.

The New York-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, also known as the Claims Conference, said the money will be distributed to more than 300 social welfare organizations worldwide.

“We are proud to announce this significant allocation of funds at a time when these funds are critical due to the age, poverty and increasing disability of our declining survivors,” said Gideon Taylor, President of the organization.

“We know that these funds are an important support in these difficult times,” he added.

The additional funding represents the largest amount ever allocated to the Claims Conference for welfare benefits in a single year, the organization said in a statement. It estimates that funds will pay for services to approximately 120,000 impoverished Holocaust survivors.

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Since 1952, the federal government has paid approximately $90 billion to individuals for suffering and loss caused by Nazi persecution.

The Claims Conference distributed $653 million in grants to hundreds of social services organizations worldwide last year.

The funds will be distributed to social welfare organizations in regions where large numbers of survivors live to ensure that essential services such as home care, medical care, emergency relief and food are available there for Holocaust survivors.

“Survivors are supported wherever they live, whether in war zones or conflict zones, and regardless of the obstacles,” said Greg Schneider, executive vice president of the Claims Conference.

With the end of World War II now more than 76 years ago, all living Holocaust survivors are elderly, and many suffer from numerous medical problems because they were deprived of proper nutrition at a young age.

Many also live in isolation after losing their families in the war. Many Holocaust survivors came out of the war with nothing and are still impoverished today.

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