Hardship Fund Changes Widens One-Time Payment Criteria for Holocaust Victims

Following talks with the German government, the Claims Conference has announced three changes to the Hardship Fund that will enable thousands of Jewish Holocaust victims to receive one-time payments. All changes are effective as of January 1, 2012.

Flight from Non-Occupied Areas

Hardship Fund payments will now be made to certain Jews who fled ahead of the advancing Nazi army from some areas of the Soviet Union that were not subsequently occupied by the Nazis.

In recent negotiations, the German government has agreed to include these Jewish victims in the Claims Conference Hardship Fund, provided they meet the program’s other eligibility criteria. The program issues a one-time payment of €2,556.

Applicants may now be eligible for a payment from the Hardship Fund if they fled between June 22, 1941 and January 27, 1944 from areas of the Soviet Union that were generally up to 100 kilometers from the most easterly advance of the German army but were not later occupied by the Nazis.

Those eligible will include Jews who fled from Moscow and Stalingrad. Eligible victims will also include those who fled from Leningrad after June 22, 1941 but before the siege of that city commenced in September 1941.

This agreement will lead to payments to Jewish victims of Nazism from the former Soviet Union now living in Israel, the United States, Germany and other Western countries. It is the first time that the experiences of these Jews who fled for their lives been recognized by Germany. These payments are not currently available to Nazi victims living in former Soviet bloc countries.

Western Persecutees

As of January 1, 2012, Hardship Fund payments may be made to eligible applicants who were citizens of certain Western European countries at the time of Nazi persecution and also at the time of that country’s Global Agreement with Germany, who have not received any previous payment from a German source which include payments under the Global Agreements. “Western Persecutees” who think they may be eligible and have not already applied to the Hardship Fund should file an application. To receive a payment, applicants must also meet the other criteria of the Hardship Fund.


As of January 1, 2012, eligible for a one-time payment of €1,900 may be those living in former Soviet bloc countries who were born 1928 or later and were orphaned due to Nazi persecution. To be eligible, applicants may not have received any previous compensation from a German source and must meet the same criteria as that of the Hardship Fund.

Background: Hardship Fund

The Hardship Fund, established in 1980 after five years of Claims Conference negotiations, provides a one-time payment of €2,556 to certain Jewish victims of Nazism, including many from former Soviet bloc countries who emigrated to the West after 1969, which was the application deadline for the West German Indemnification Laws (BEG).

You can find the full criteria, and applications, for the Hardship Fund on the Claims Conference website.
Applications and information are also available by contacting the Claims Conference offices in New York, Tel Aviv or Frankfurt.