In a historic breakthrough for Holocaust victims from North Africa, Jews imprisoned in internment camps in Tunisia by the Nazis may be eligible to receive ongoing German compensation payments.
Prisoners of Gabes, Marcia-Plage, and Tniet-Agarev may now receive pension payments from the Claims Conference Article 2 Fund, providing they meet other German-mandated eligibility criteria. For the first time, Jewish women and children in Tunisia will be eligible for Article 2 payments.
Jews were interned in these camps starting in July 1942 by the French Vichy government and its dependent protectorate authorities in Tunisia at the instigation of the Nazis. Following the German occupation of Tunisia in November 1942, the German authorities were solely responsible for the treatment of the Jews.
The camps were fenced in and tightly guarded. Leaving the camps was strictly forbidden. Hygienic conditions and medical care were extremely inadequate, with very poor living quarters, and prisoners suffered hunger and thirst.
Western European victims
The Claims Conference also obtained Article 2 payments for 4,000 new claimants from certain Western European countries. This will result in an 8-percent increase in the number of people receiving Article 2 payments, which is currently 49,000, and an additional Euro 15 million being paid annually.
Eligibility for these survivors was obtained in negotiations in 2003, but the Claims Conference has received many more claims than was originally provided for by the German government and the German government has not previously provided sufficient funding to make these payments.
Every year, the Claims Conference meets with German officials to obtain changes in compensation programs to benefit more Jewish victims of Nazism. These ongoing talks have enabled thousands of additional people to receive these payments and ensured that the experiences of Nazi victims are recognized.
Article 2 Fund payments are Euro 270 (approximately USD 320) per month.