In a historic decision, the German government approved on Thursday the recognition of around 8,000 Romanian citizens living in Israel as Holocaust survivors, a decision that allows them to receive a monthly stipend and retroactive compensation, an amount that could reach into billions of shekels.

Initiated by Israel's Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel, the decision means that those recognized as Holocaust survivors will receive retroactive compensation going back twenty years and a monthly pension.

In addition, they will also receive monthly payments from the Holocaust Survivors Rights Authority (HSRA), under the auspices of the Israeli Finance Ministry. According to existing regulations, each survivor will receive approximately NIS 2,000 per month.

Legal heirs of Romanian immigrants born after 1910 and who died after June 1, 2002, will also be able to claim some form of compensation from the German government.

Recognition will be granted to those who come from twenty specific cities, including Botosani, Galasi and Iasi. Also included are those who were incarcerated in ghettos, those born up to 1928, those who immigrated to Israel after October 1, 1953, and those who were not entitled to a monthly survivors stipend previously.

As for the thousands of citizens of Romania living in Israel who are already entitled to a monthly stipend from the HSRA, they will also be able to apply for the payments from the Social Security Institute in Germany.

Gamliel said after the declaration: "This is a day of historic justice, which comes after ten months of intensive negotiations. The financial compensation will not restore the loss and can not cover the pain and tragedy, but it can significantly improve the welfare of thousands of survivors.

"We will continue to work for German recognition of the eligibility of thousands of survivors who have not yet been recognized," she continued. "Whether they are Romanian immigrants or those of other countries, the government of Israel has a duty and responsibility for Holocaust survivors, their welfare and the right to which they are entitled. I am proud to have the right to lead – together with the Foreign Ministry and the Claims Conference – the political efforts in this important field, and have all hope and confidence that we will achieve further successes."

Romania's pre-war Jewish population of around 750,000 was decimated in the Holocaust, as the Romanian government under Marshal Ion Antonescu allied itself with Nazi Germany. Estimates state that 380,000-400,000 Romanian Jews died during the Holocaust.




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