Hundreds of Kindertransport refugees to receive one-off compensation payment
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Hundreds of Kindertransport refugees to receive one-off compensation payment

Following prolonged negotiations between the Claims Conference and the German government, it was agreed that each Kinder will receive £2,245

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Kindertransport refugees
Kindertransport refugees

In a unique agreement, the last survivors of the Kindertransport — the 10,000 children who came to Britain in 1938 from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia — are to receive one-off compensation payments, as a result of prolonged negotiations between the Claims Conference and the German government.

Greg Schneider, executive vice-president of the Claims Conference, said that an estimated 1,000 Kinder were thought still to be alive. “They would be between 80 and 100 years old today,” he said. Half the Kinder are believed still to be living in the UK, with the rest spread throughout the US, Israel, Canada and Australia.

Mr Schneider said that each Kind would receive €2,500, (£2,245.98) out of a total fund of £2.2M (€2.5 m). But, he added: “There is no cap on the fund, so if there turn out to be more than 1,000 people eligible, everyone will still receive £2,245 (€2,500)”.

The Claims Conference has spent years negotiating with the German government for payments for the Kinder, some of whom, it is acknowledged, did receive some payment in the 1950s. Additionally, the Kinder were included in a variety of other payments such as pensions and help with home care and welfare. They remain eligible for these new payments.

But Mr Schneider said that the Kinder, currently marking the 80th anniversary of their historic journey to Britain, had never received anything to compensate for “lost childhood and the psychological trauma they endured, and we hope that people will take it as a validation of that suffering”.

He said that throughout the negotiations he had been thinking about the parents of the children. “Imagine, having to put your child on a train, and in some cases pick one sibling rather than another, put on a brave face and wave goodbye, knowing that you would almost certainly never see your son or daughter again. It is simply heartbreaking.”

Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, the Claims Conference special negotiator, said: “This payment comes at a time when we are commemorating 80 years since these children took their fateful journey from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia to Great Britain. After having to endure a life forever severed from their parents and families, no-one can ever profess to make them whole; [but] they are receiving a small measure of justice”.

The Kindertransport Fund will open on January 1 2019 and begin processing eligible applications.

READ MORE:

Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

read more:
comments