The World Jewish Organization (WJRO) announced Monday that the Claims Conference has begun to distribute EUR 1,000,000 from the Luxembourg Fund allocated for this purpose to Holocaust survivors who are currently living in or were persecuted in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg at the time of the Shoah.
The fund has already approved applicants from 11 countries that applied by the initial deadline of October 15, 2021.
Each survivor will receive a first installment payment of EUR 5,000 by the end of November. The second and final payment is expected to be made in March 2022.
To ensure that additional Holocaust survivors have sufficient time to apply for and benefit from the program, the deadline has been extended to January 31, 2022.
“The compensation program is an important acknowledgement by the government of Luxembourg of how the Holocaust was carried out under Nazi occupation and the suffering endured by Jews in Luxembourg,” said Gideon Taylor, Chair of Operations, World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO).
“We are pleased that survivors will soon be receiving their first payments. We also urge anyone that may be eligible for the program to apply by the January 31, 2022 extended deadline.
“All survivors will receive equal payments regardless of their application submission date. These funds provide a small measure of justice and will help survivors live their lives with the dignity they deserve.”
The Luxembourg direct support payment program is the result of a historic Luxembourg agreement on Holocaust era restitution that was signed on January 27, 2021 (International Holocaust Remembrance Day) between the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO), the State of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Jewish community of Luxembourg, and the Luxembourg Foundation for the Remembrance of the Shoah.
In the agreement, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg committed EUR 1,000,000 to directly support Holocaust survivors. The funds will be distributed equally in two installments to approved applicants.
“As survivors age, the Luxembourg payment program is especially important,” said Laurent Moyse, Acting President, Luxembourg Foundation for the Remembrance of the Shoah.
“Luxembourg’s pledge to provide direct support for Holocaust survivors serves as a profound statement of its abiding commitment to supporting Jews who were persecuted and suffered so much during the Nazi occupation of Luxembourg.”
“I was born in Luxemburg. When the war began, we left for southern France, where which the Nazis captured my parents,” said 82-year-old Haya Nevo.
“I was taken to live by a Christian family while my brother was brought to a hidden camp for children in the mountains. My parents were exiled to Auschwitz never to return.
“We moved to Israel in 1949 with our grandmother. We built our lives in Israel. Although we are not starving for bread, we are pleased and grateful for Luxembourg’s government decision. As the saying goes “better late than never”.
In addition to the payment program for Holocaust survivors, the agreement also commits dedicated resources to Holocaust memorialization, remembrance, research, and education. The agreement also addresses key restitution issues including dormant bank accounts and insurance, as well as looted art.
According to the agreement, the Government of Luxembourg has agreed to:
● Provide one million Euros as a symbolic acknowledgement of support to Holocaust survivors from Luxembourg. Funds will be transferred to the World Jewish Restitution Organization to be distributed through the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
● Purchase and renovate Cinqfontaines, where Luxembourg Jewish victims were gathered and then transported to death camps. Luxembourg will develop Cinqfontaines into a fitting place to memorialize Holocaust victims and to educate future generations. This project is estimated to cost over 25 million Euros.
● Contribute 120,000 Euros per year for 30 years to the Luxembourg Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah to further Holocaust remembrance and other statutory purposes.
● Continue to support Le Comité pour la mémoire de la Deuxième Guerre mondiale (The Committee for the Remembrance of the Second World War) with an increased budget.
● Establish and fund independent research, provenance research, and work on the national archives to provide access to files related to the occupation of Luxembourg and the Holocaust.
● Enhance collaboration on the development of a national antisemitism strategy.
● Identify and restitute Holocaust-era dormant bank accounts, safe deposit boxes, and insurance policies through an independent audit to be overseen by a joint committee composed of government officials as well as representatives of WJRO and the Jewish community.
● Conduct provenance research in accordance with the Washington Conference Principles and the Terezin Declaration to identify looted art and other cultural property to be returned in accordance with these declarations.