The Long Wait for Recognition

Seeking Justice for
Holocaust Victims in the
Former Soviet Union

The Long Wait for Compensation

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.

Piecing Together The History

What We Did

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. Our staff went from house to house, reviewing documents that could help these victims prove that they are entitled to a payment.

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.

Claims Conference staff traveled with iPads with special scanning software that allowed them to scan documents, file them and then send them to the New York office for processing.

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. The payment can never make up for the terror and the lost years, but now they know that someone is listening – and working to get them a recognition long denied.


Documents—many over 70 years old—must be painstakingly collected and translated.

A caseworker visits a client in her home.

We went to 11 Cities across the
Former Soviet Union to help Holocaust victims file claims.

Many Holocaust victims are too weak to leave their homes and have vision and hearing problems that would make applying without help impossible.

We sent caseworkers into the homes of elderly Holocaust victims to make sure each story is recorded.


Leonid gathers documents that may help his claim.


Galina was born in 1923 in Kharkov, Ukraine in 1934. She escaped to Karaganda during the war.


Boris and his family escaped to Tyumen, Russia during the Holocaust.

Helping Holocaust Victims in the former Soviet Union

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 in the former Soviet Union.

We are working to ensure that all Holocaust victims worldwide will someday have their suffering recognized.

© Conference Claims Conference 2016

Photos: Ed Serotta