The Long Wait for Recognition
Seeking Justice for Holocaust Victims in the Former Soviet Union
For more than 70 years, Holocaust victims in the former Soviet Union have waited. They waited to outlast Soviet repression, waited for the rest of the Jewish world to remember them, and waited for recognition of their Holocaust suffering.
In 2012, after decades of Claims Conference persistence, the German government agreed to allow Holocaust victims living throughout the vast expanses of the former Soviet Union to apply to the Hardship Fund. The program issues a one-time payment of €2,556 to certain Jewish Holocaust victims.
The €2,556 payment is only a token and cannot make up for the suffering they endured, but for impoverished Holocaust victims in the former Soviet Union, the payment can be a vital lifeline, providing a measure of comfort and security as they age.
To help many of the elderly Holocaust victims apply for compensation, the Claims Conference sent Russian-speaking staff to 11 cities in Moldova, Russia and Ukraine.
Staff conducted in-person interviews with Holocaust victims and reviewed documents.
We also set up sessions in the local Hesed (Jewish social service agency) in each of these cities, where elderly victims could bring their documents.
Social service centers are located in major cities in the former Soviet Union and provide help with compensation applications.
Holocaust victims can speak with staff and get help with questions they may have about filling in application forms.
Staff visited Holocaust victims living in remote areas in their homes. They travelled with iPads and special scanning software to allow them to scan documents, file them, and send them to the New York office for processing.
The Long Wait for Compensation
Seventy-five years after the Nazis invaded the USSR, the Jews who lived through it were able to not only tell us their stories, but show us the documents that testify that they should receive this long-delayed token payment.
Holocaust victims in the former Soviet Union (FSU) rely on care from Jewish regional welfare centers known as "Hesed." With Claims Conference support, these centers supply homecare, food, medical care, transportation and winter supplies.
Learn more about our work with Holocaust victims in the FSU
© Conference Claims Conference 2016
Photos: Ed Serotta