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Lost Childhood: Demand recognition
Photo: Courtesy of Yad Vashem
Child Holocaust survivors demand compensation
Survivors who were kids at end of WWII want Claims Conference to fight for additional reparation
Members of the Lost Childhood organization, who survived the Holocaust when they were children, are set to hold a demonstration on Monday in front of the Claims Conference offices, demanding to receive reparations for the life-long suffering that was inflicted on them by the Nazis.

 

"We demand the recognition of the obligation and the debt that Germany owes us, the Shoah children, for the deprivation of our childhood," the organization said in a statement. "Our voice, the voice of the children and orphans who survived the Holocaust, is not being heard. We were young, no one cared for us; we were neglected and forgotten. No one was there for us, and we were busy building a new life while repressing the horrors that we experienced."

 

The survivors say that the Claims Conference, which was established in 1951 to represent Holocaust survivors in negotiations with Germany for reparations, has neglected their cause.

 

"We demand the Claims Conference include our representative, without delay, in the child Holocaust survivors' claim for compensation from the German government," the Lost Children organization added.

 

'Sweeten the terrible memories'

According to the Claims Conference, the child survivors are demanding a special compensation, in addition to what all Holocaust survivors are entitled to.

 

Yechezkel Adiram, who was hidden as a child by the partisans in the woods of Lithuania, said that Monday's demonstration will be the first of its kind. "I don't think that there are many causes that are as justified as the one of the Holocaust children," he said. "For some reason, the 50 organizations that deal with the (reparations) on behalf of Israel are ignoring this issue.

 

"The most cynical part is that they refuse to include us as an full-fledged organization that fights for the rights of Holocaust survivors," he added. "We are trying to sweeten a little the terrible memories and the suffering that we experienced."

 

A Claims Conference spokeman responded in a statement, saying that the German government has yet to agree to pay special compensation for their "lost childhood" beyond the standard amount given to victims of Nazi persection – even though the conference brings up the issue every year.

 

He added that child survivors are represented on the Claims Conference board. "This is an internal organizational struggle that is not related to the Claims Conference, and certainly does not contribute to progress on the issue," he said. "The Claims Conference will continue the sacred activity for which it was founded, and will not be dragged into these internal struggles."

 

 

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