POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - WORLD

Restitution agreement

Luxembourg pays €5,000 to Holocaust survivors



The grand duchy has allocated €1m to the direct compensation of victims of the Holocaust in and from Luxembourg. The distribution of the fund has now begun.  Photo: Shutterstock

The grand duchy has allocated €1m to the direct compensation of victims of the Holocaust in and from Luxembourg. The distribution of the fund has now begun.  Photo: Shutterstock

The Claims Conference, an NGO that secures compensation for Holocaust survivors, has started distributing a €1m Luxembourg fund allocated to survivors as part of a restitution agreement.

The first payment of €5,000 will reach the applicants--from 11 countries--by the end of November, the World Jewish Restitution Organization said on Monday. A second payment will be issued by the end of March 2022. The application deadline has been extended to 31 January 2022 to allow more Holocaust survivors to come forth.  

“As survivors age, the Luxembourg payment programme is especially important. 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,” said Laurent Moyse, acting President of the Luxembourg Foundation for the Remembrance of the Shoah, in a statement.

Back in January 2021, the grand duchy had signed an agreement alongside the WJRO, the Jewish community of Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Foundation for the Remembrance of the Shoah.

A historic agreement

The grand duchy was the last western EU country to sign such an agreement with the Jewish community.

Aside from the €1m budget to provide material compensation to survivors, the fund provides €120,000 per annum for 30 years to the Luxembourg Foundation for the Remembrance of the Shoah, which fights against Holocaust denial and racism while also supporting properties with a link to World War II.

Part of the budget also goes towards uncovering archives on Luxembourg during the occupation and the Holocaust, as well as the restitution of dormant bank accounts of Jewish victims to relevant parties.

“The symbolic gesture that this payment programme represents will never heal the wounds that I and other Holocaust survivors have suffered as a result of Nazi crimes in Luxembourg and elsewhere, but it is an important chapter in our journey to find a measure of justice,” said Claude Marx, a Holocaust survivor living in Luxembourg.

In the 1950s and 1960s, laws surrounding the compensation of stolen property during Nazi occupation and pensions for victims of war had excluded many Jewish victims from recuperating any material goods or compensation.

The €1m budget will be distributed equally among approved applicants, regardless of the date of their application. Claims can be made by Jews persecuted by the Nazi regime or their allies who currently live in Luxembourg or lived in the country between January 1933 and May 1945.