Some 8,400 Holocaust survivors who lived through forced labor in the ghettos established by the Third Reich have received compensation from the German government recently, and 22,000 will be paid similar dues, Yedioth Ahronoth reported Monday.
The German Labor and Social Affairs Ministry will compensate the survivors or, if they have passed away, their family members, with a total sum of half a billion dollars.
Additional survivors were invited to file a claim, even if they were children while working under forced labor laws. However, the compensation applies only to those who labored in ghettos under the direct sovereignty of the Third Reich, and not its allies.
The German government approved the 'Ghetto Pension Law' in 2002, stipulating that survivors who worked in ghettos under Nazi occupation are eligible for a monthly stipend and retroactive payments from 1997.
Since then, some 60,000 claims have been filed by Holocaust survivors, half of them in Israel. Around 93% were turned down, but in June the German Supreme Court overturned the decisions, making the survivors eligible for compensation.
"They have finally paid me for what they did to me," says Eva Yakobovitch, a 90-year old Holocaust survivor who worked under forced labor laws in nothing but torn rags and wooden slippers. "With this money I'll purchase medicine."
Eva, born in Hungary, was 24 when the Nazis sent her to Kolozsvár Ghetto. "I did all of the nasty work in the mess hall," she recounts. "In exchange they gave me extra food and potatoes, which I gave to my mother." Eva was later transported to Auschwitz.
She says the monthly stipend is a lifeline. "I'm sick and I need this money for medicine. It's better late than never," says Eva.
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