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Compensation for National Socialist injustice

Holocaust memorial Berlin

Holocaust-Mahnmal, Mitte, Berlin, Deutschland, © ©picture alliance / imageBROKER

13.08.2021 - Article

General information

The Federal Government has, from the very outset, made the process of providing moral and financial compensation for the crimes committed by the National Socialist regime a key priority and continues to attach great importance to this task today. The Federal Republic of Germany makes large payments that, in accordance with the declared objective of the Federal Government, are intended to benefit in perpetuity those who were persecuted by the Nazi regime. The Federal Government intends to continue to provide support for the survivors of the persecution and horrors of the concentration camps and ghettos and to enable them to live in dignity.

General information on Compensation for National Socialist injustice can be found on the website of the Foreign Office:

Compensation for National Socialist injustice

The following brochure of the Federal Ministry of Finance provides information on provisions relating to compensation for National Socialist injustice:

Brochure Compensation for National Socialist injustice

Federal Compensation Act - Bundesentschädigungsgesetz (BEG)

Shortly after Word War II, Germany passed the Federal Compensation Act (Bundesentschädigungsgesetz). On the basis of this law many persons who were persecuted by the Nazi-Regime continue receiving monthly compensation payments. All application deadlines for filing claims have expired.

If you have any questions with regards to your compensation payment, or you changed your address, or you wish to pass on other information to the compensation authority, please contact it directly. There are several compensation offices in Germany. Most claims from persons residing in Australia are administered by:

Landesamt für Finanzen
Amt für Wiedergutmachung
Postfach 1465
54434 Saarburg
Phone.:+49 6581/921-0
Fax: +49 6581/921-150
Email: Poststelle.AfW@lff.fin-rlp.de
Website

Please be informed that the German missions in Australia do not offer any counselling on compensation pension.

Guideline of the German federal government regarding transitional payments to surviving spouses of victims of National Socialist injustice who received on-going benefits under the Federal Compensation Act until their death

The above-mentioned guideline has come into effect on 27th April 2021.
According to this guideline surviving spouses of victims of National Socialist injustice who died after 1st January 2020 and who, until their death, received on-going benefits under the Federal Compensation Act are entitled to receive financial benefits upon request for a transitional period of 9 months after the death of their spouse. The amount of these transitional payments is essentially based on the minimum pension under the Federal Compensation Act.

Responsible for implementing this guideline is the “Arbeitsgruppe Anerkennungsleistungen” (working group “recognition payments”) at Bundesamt für zentrale Dienste und offene Vermögensfragen (BADV)

For further information please contact the BADV directly: poststelle.uelrl@badv.bund.de

Pensions and other payments for former workers in a ghetto

Holocaust survivors who voluntarily worked in a ghetto located in a territory occupied by or integrated into the German Reich may apply for two types of compensation payment: The Ghetto pension pursuant to ZRBG and the Payment to victims of persecution in recognition of work in a Ghetto.

Ghetto pension pursuant to ZRBG (Law Regulating the Conditions for Pension Payments on the Basis of Employment in a Ghetto)

Under the Ghetto Pensions Act (ZRBG) Holocaust survivors who took on remunerated employment of their own free will while detained in a ghetto that had been created by the National Socialists are eligible for a Social Security Pension. This kind of pension is paid on a monthly basis.

Information leaflet

Form are available online 

Send the completed form to:
Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund
10704 Berlin
Germany
Tel. + 49 (0)30-868880 (from abroad)
Tel: 0800 -100048070 (domestic calls)
Fax: +49/(0)30/ 865 27240
E-Mail: drv@drv-bund.de
Website: www.deutsche-rentenversicherung.de

For further information, please contact the Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund.

Payment in recognition of ghetto work and one-time pension substitution supplement (Ghetto Work Recognition Guidelines)

This is a one-time payment in the amount of €2,000. Applications are to be filed with the Federal Office of Central Services and Unresolved Property Issues (BADV). Further information as well as the application form can be found on the website of the above mentioned agency at

Federal Office of Central Services and Unresolved Property – Ghetto Recognition Payment

Information leaflet

The German Government abolished the original submission deadline for applications.

Combination of Ghetto Pension and Recognition Payment

Originally, an applicant could not claim the one-time recognition payment if the work in the ghetto had already been taken into account as contribution time in the pension payments. The German Government changed this practice so that now, pension payments where the work in a ghetto was considered as contribution time for pension purposes do not exclude the one-time recognition payment and vice versa. This means that the affected parties may now apply for both, the ghetto pension under the ZRBG regulations and the one-time recognition payment to victims of persecution of work in a ghetto which did not constitute forced labor, and, on approval, may receive both payments.

Compensation for forced labour / Foundation for Remembrance, Responsibility and Future

The Foundation for Remembrance, Responsibility and Future (EVZ) was set up in order to provide compensation to former forced labourers. The main purpose was to make financial resources available for individual one-off payments to affected survivors. Resources from the Foundation were primarily granted to those who had been subjected to forced labour in concentration camps and ghettos as well as to victims, who had been deported from their home countries and subjected to  forced labour while being imprisoned.

Payments were completed in 2007. New applications cannot be filed.

In total, more than 1.7 million people in nearly 100 countries received payments, 4.362 billion Euros were disbursed to former forced labourers.

Following the end of the payments, the Foundations remaining endowment has been used to support international projects in the following areas:

  • A critical examination of history
  • Working for human rights
  • Commitment to the victims of National Socialism

Further information can be found on the Foundation‘s website

Jewish Claims Conference

Founded in 1951 the Jewish Claims Conference (JCC) negotiates for and disburses funds to individuals and organizations and seeks the return of Jewish property stolen during the Holocaust.

Since 1952, the German government has paid more than $60 billion in indemnification to individuals for suffering and losses resulting from persecution by the Nazis through the JCC.

The Claims Conference administers direct payment programs to certain eligible Holocaust victims in accordance with German government guidelines pertaining to persecution experience and current residence (e.g. hardship fund, child survivor fund, child transportation fund a.o.)

More information can be found on the website of the JCC

Non-Jewish victims

Non-jewish survivors of Nazi persecution and their descendants can get advice from:

Informations- und Beratungsstelle für NS-Verfolgte

Life certificates

Information on life certificates for pensions paid by the Deutsche Rentenversicherung (old age pension and ZRBG pensions) can be found here

Life certificates for BEG pensioners:

Recipients of a regular compensation pension receive a life certificate form from their compensation authorities once a year. Please carefully read the instructions on the form. The life certficate has to be completed, signed and certified by the local stipulated approved agency and then send back to the responsible compensation authorities within the given time limit. If it is not send back in time, the compensation authority may suspend the pension payments. The certification on the form can normally be issued by an Australian authority (as stated on the form). Should the form explicitly state the necessity of a certification by a German foreign mission, this can be issued by the Consulate General Sydney, the Embassy Canberra or one of our Honorary Consuls. Please book an appointment and bring your valid passport with you.

Delayed payments, change of address/bank account

If your pension payment is delayed, or your address or bank information has changed please contact your compensation authority.

Be sure to include your insurance policy number and also indicate as precisely as possible the month for which your pension was not paid.

Death of a pensioner

When a beneficiary passes away the next of kin or executor of the estate must inform the competent compensation authority without delay. The authority will then discontinue the payments.

The following information/documents are required:

  • death certificate of the beneficiary (if possible as original or certified copy)
  • date of birth
  • name and file number of the Pension Authority
  • name and contact details of the executor of the estate.

The pensioner is entitled to the pension for the month in which he/she passed away. In most cases the pension payment is made at the beginning of the month/end of the previous month. Pension payments that are made after this time must be paid back to the compensation authority.

Please note that even after notification of the death it can still take several weeks until payments are stopped due to banking procedures. As many pensions are paid at the beginning of a month, overpayments occur regularly. The compensation authority tries to retrieve the money from the account to which the pension was paid directly, or contacts the next of kin. If the pension was paid by cheque, you should not cash the cheques to which the pensioner was not entitled.

For transitional payments to surviving spouses see above


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