BERLIN—The German government and the Conference for Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) reached an agreement over a one-time compensation payment for Jewish Nazi victims who lived in Algeria between 1940 and 1942.
Algeria once had one of the largest Jewish communities in the region. Around 110,000 Jews lived in the country in 1940. At the time, Algeria was a French colony and controlled by the Vichy regime, which was allied to Nazi Germany. The Vichy government enforced strict anti-Semitic laws, stripped Jews of their French citizenship and prohibited them from working in government and in certain professions. Moreover, Jewish pupils were expelled from state schools. Approximately 25,000 to 30,000 of these Jews are estimated to be still alive.
“For the first time they’re being recognized as Nazi victims by the German government,” said Greg Schneider, Executive Vice President of the Conference on Material Claims Against Germany. “The Vichy government subjected these people to restrictions on education, political life, participation in civil society and employment, abolishing French citizenship and singling them out only because they were Jews,”
‘’This is excellent news. It shows that the terrible treatment Algerian Jews had to endure under the Vichy regime has not been forgotten. I thank the German government for making this gesture. It comes late, but not too late,” said Ronald S.Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress.
Each survivor approved will receive a hardship grant of 2,556 euros, the equivalent of approximately $3,100. The money will be distributed beginning in July.
The vast majority of people affected — about 20,000 — now live in France.The Claims Conference opened a website where survivors can make an appointment to go to a Help Center.
It is the last settlement Germany will make with a large group of Holocaust survivors, he added, since it was the only major population remaining without that recognition.