Although the ability to file compensation claims under the BEG legislation expired in 1969, the FRG provided funding to the Claims Conference in 1980 for the creation of an additional “Hardship Fund.” The Fund provides one-time payments to Jewish victims of the Nazis who had been forced to emigrate from Soviet bloc countries. During the last decade, the Fund expanded dramatically to make payments to eligible victims residing in Central and Eastern Europe and in the former Soviet Union. The Fund also recognized the persecution of Jews in Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. As of July 2019, more than 521,500 Jewish victims of Nazi persecution had received a one-time payment from the Hardship Fund.
The 1990 treaty uniting Germany obliged the German government to hold negotiations with the Claims Conference on the establishment of new funds for victims of the Nazis who were in need and who had received no or only minimal compensation. In October 1992, Germany agreed to provide funding via what later became known as the “Article 2 Fund.” In 1998, the country established a sister program, the Central and Eastern European Fund (CEEF), for victims living in those areas. Since 1990, these funds enabled pensions for more than 130,000 Holocaust survivors.
In July 2000, an interagency team led by Stuart Eizenstat, Special Representative of the President and Secretary of State on Holocaust-Era Issues, concluded on behalf of the U.S. government an agreement with German industry and the German government for 10 billion DM (approximately $5 billion) to settle class action suits filed against German companies in U.S. courts. This agreement included funds for certain slave laborers (most of whom were Jewish laborers who were worked to death); forced laborers (representing the most extensive payments by Germany to non-Jewish citizens in such countries as Poland, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia); unpaid insurance policies, which were passed through to the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC) chaired by former U.S. Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger; and a new foundation to be created with German industry support.
To implement the July 2000 agreement, the German Bundestag established the EVZ. After paying $4.9 billion in lump-sum payments to 1.66 million former forced laborers over the course of seven years, the EVZ concluded its direct compensation activities in 2007.
In 2002, the EVZ paid 550 million DM (approximately $248 million, using 2002 conversion rate) to the ICHEIC to provide compensation for the unpaid Holocaust-era insurance policies issued by German companies. ICHEIC also received funds from settlements with certain non‑German insurance companies. Holocaust survivors and their heirs filed approximately 90,000 insurance claims with ICHEIC, and 48,000 claimants received payments. Many claimants did not know the name of the company that had issued their policy. However, ICHEIC used archival research and matching protocols to identify more than 16,000 of these unnamed claims; companies made payments on about 8,000 of them. In total, ICHEIC made $306 million in payments to Holocaust survivors and their heirs. Humanitarian payments were also made to claimants in cases where no policies could be found.
The EVZ set aside $399 million, yielding capital proceeds of about $8.6 million per year, for the “Future Fund” to finance Holocaust remembrance and educational projects, which was thought to be the fund’s major task when it was created in the July 2000 agreement. In recent years, a significant portion of the funds have been used for projects dealing with human rights issues not related to the Holocaust.
Today, with funding from the German government, the Claims Conference continues to administer approximately 50,000 Article 2 and CEEF pensions, which amount to several hundred million dollars per year to Holocaust survivors in 80 countries. From 2009 to 2019, the Claims Conference has negotiated more than $9 billion in additional compensation with the German government. Regular negotiations between the Claims Conference and the German government have expanded existing programs and introduced additional ones, including a child survivor fund, a Kindertransport fund, and the provision of home care services for elderly survivors. The latter program has been repeatedly expanded: in 2018, the Claims Conference and the German government negotiated an $83 million funding increase, from $452 million to $535 million. In their 2019 negotiations, the German government agreed to an increase, which raised the total funding level for 2020 to $587 million and included for the first time payments to the widowed spouses of recipients of Holocaust survivor pensions.