The Kindertransport Fund is now open and will begin processing eligible applications shortly. Although some survivors were provided a small payment in the 1950s, prior payments under compensation programs will not bar claimants from receiving this new benefit. The fund will issue one-time payments of €2,500, which is approximately $2,800 US.
- They were under 21 years of age, unaccompanied by their parents and took part in a transport that was not organized by the German government in order to escape potentially threatening persecution by German forces;
- They were transported from somewhere within the German Reich or from territories that had been annexed or occupied at the time;
- The transport took place between November 9, 1938 and September 1, 1939 or was approved by the German authorities after November 9, 1938 but before September 1, 1939. The fund is intended to acknowledge the suffering of Holocaust survivors who endured unimaginable trauma in their childhoods, encompassing a range of experiences that included separation from parents, living in hiding with the terror of being caught, privation and abuse in ghettos and even the horrors of concentration camps, where very few children survived.
Learn More About Claims Conference and Kindertransport
Julius Berman, President of the Claims Conference, announced that as a result of ongoing negotiations between the Claims Conference and the German government, an agreement was reached on the 80th anniversary of the Kindertransport, to provide compensation payments for child survivors of the Kindertransport. “Our team has never given up hope that the moment would come when we could make this historic announcement,” said Berman.
The Kindertransport started in 1938 when British authorities agreed to allow an unspecified number of children under the age of 17 to enter the country from Germany and German-annexed areas (Austria and Czech lands) (Source USHMM). It became evident after Kristallnacht (the night of broken glass), that the situation for Jews in Germany was reaching crisis proportions. Jewish families began urgently searching for any avenue to get their children to safety. Over 10,000 children were saved from death when parents, who were desperate to save their children from the horrors of life under the Nazis, found refuge for them in England – often tragically relinquishing their babies and infants to the care of older children for the possibility of getting them to safety. In heartbreaking scenes on train platforms, these children were often torn from their parents’ arms and, in virtually every case, never saw them again.
Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, Claims Conference Special Negotiator, said of this achievement, “This payment comes at a time when we are commemorating 80 years since these children took their fateful journey from Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia to Great Britain. After having to endure a life forever severed from their parents and families, no one can ever profess to make them whole; they are receiving a small measure of justice.”
Greg Schneider, Claims Conference Executive Vice President said, “We must all take a moment to commemorate this recognition and sacrifice. No one can imagine the pain on train platforms as the Kindertransports began and the extraordinary steps these parents took to give the opportunity for life to their children – a life those children led without mothers, without fathers, and in many cases, without family of any kind.”