According to the German law, the
German Social Security Institute, the equivalent of The National Insurance
Institute in Israel (also known as Bituah Leumi
), pays monthly payments as, part of the old-age pension, for Holocaust survivors who worked
in Nazi ghettos during the World War II. These payments are paid for Holocaust
survivors who worked, not out of coercion, but for various
kinds of wages, in ghettos defined by the German Social Security Institute as
closed ghettos during the World War II.
It should be noted that this
entitlement is not similar to the rights existing for Holocaust survivors, as
opposed to forced labor in labor camps, concentration centers, and military
The ghettos known under this law are
mainly ghettos that were scattered mainly in various Eastern European
countries, as well as the ghetto in the city of Salonika, Greece. Following the
activities of our office, the German authorities officially recognized ghetto
workers in the city of Nalchik in the North Caucasus.
Compensation under ZRBG German law
allows those working in the ghettos to receive a social old-age pension from
the German Social Security Institute.
The aforementioned old-age pension
includes a monthly payment as well as a retroactive payment of compensation in
those cases in which a previous application was filed before June 30, 2003, but
was rejected in accordance with the criteria that were in force at the time.
In June 2009, there has been a
change in the filing and renewal of claims guidelines and since June 2009 the
German law enables the renewal of claims which were rejected in the past. It is
important to add that in some cases, the age restriction that was in force in
the past was canceled and eligibility is now conditional on the survivor being
at least 4 years of age when he was working in the ghetto.
In 2014, after a number of appeals
on this matter by our firm and other law firms, a regulation was enacted by the
German legislature that allows for additional retroactive benefits, sometimes
until 1997, even to those who filed their claims many years later.
In cases where the Social Security
Institute in Germany finds that a retroactive payment must be paid early than
the regular statute of limitations for files in this institution, of four
years, a renewed calculation of rights is made, which reduces the amount of the
monthly benefit on the one hand and entitles immediate substantial retroactive
payment on the other hand. Our office handles this eligibility, examining the
proposal of the German Social Security Institute, and ascertaining that none of
the rights of our clients have been deducted.
In addition, there is still the
possibility of filing claims for a one-time payment of 2,000 euros for work in
the ghetto, not out of coercion, in parameters similar to those listed above,
and the payment will be considered as a preliminary payment to the German
social pension. It has recently been determined that paying a social rent does
not entail a non-payment or refund of the sum of 2,000 euros, which was paid by
the German authorities in the past. On the contrary, a person who is entitled
to a social rent can apply for a one-time payment of 2,000 euros. The opposite situation
is possible as well: those who returned the one-time compensation of 2,000
euros, can request this payment back.
Recently, in a series of decisions,
the Social Security Institute in Germany approved and granted the status of a
ghetto to other places mainly in the cities of Romania and Bulgaria. For
example, places were added in the cities of Konstanz and Ginta in Romania, and
in Bulgaria the towns of Berkovitsa, Burgas, Varna, Lom, Schumann and others.
We estimate that additional locations will be recognized later and recommend to
follow any developments regarding this issue.
Unlike the rights of Holocaust
survivors in the various foundations, the heirs of a person who worked in the
ghettos and died after June 2002 are entitled to apply to the old age pension
from the German Social Security until the day he died. From our experience in
representation in these cases, it often turns out that these are high sums of
money, which are divided among heirs under German inheritance law.