Survivors, primarily Jews, who were evacuated from Nazi Germany as children in the so-called “Kinderstransport” will receive a one-time payment from the Germany government.
The New York-based Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany announced Monday the government has agreed to payments of $2,800 to those still alive from the 10,000 children who fled ahead of World War II.
The one-time payment, on the 89th anniversary of the beginning of the transport of the children to Britain from Nazi Germany and elsewhere in Europe, is seen as a “symbolic recognition of their suffering,” Greg Schneider, Claims Conference negotiator, told the Associated Press.
“In almost all of the cases the parents who remained were killed in concentration camps in the Holocaust and they have tremendous psychological problems,” he added.
The Jewish children were sent to Britain after the Nazi’s anti-Jewish pogrom in November 1938 known as Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass. At the time, the British government agreed to allow an unspecified number of Jewish children as refugees from Germany or territories it had annexed.
The first transport arrived in Harwich on Dec. 2, 1938, according to the United States Holocaust Museum. The last transport from Germany left Sept. 1, 1939 – the day World War II officially broke out with the Nazi invasion of Poland. The final transport from continental Europe left the Netherlands on May 14, 1940, the same day Dutch forces surrendered to the Nazis.
In all, about 10,000 children from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland were taken to the U.K., about 7,500 of whom were Jewish, the museum said. About half were placed with foster families, while others stayed in hostels, schools and farms.
Today, about 1,000 survivors, the youngest of whom are at least in their 80s, are thought to be alive, with about half still living in Britain. Others eventually resettled in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Israel.
“This money is acknowledgment that this was a traumatic, horrible thing that happened to them,” Schneider said.
Some survivors already received small payments in the 1950s, but that will not bar them from receiving the new benefit, the Claims Conference said.
The Claims Conference carries out continuous negotiations with Germany to expand the number of people eligible for compensation.
Since 1952, the German government has paid more than $80 billion to individuals for suffering and losses resulting from persecution by the Nazis.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.