Updated May 31, 2020

01. – Who runs this site?

This site is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization, and is currently wholly a volunteer project. We are in the process of applying for grants in order to defray the costs of keeping this project going. However, in the meantime (as of April, 2018), no one earns money from their involvement in this endeavor, and we are not funded by any organization. The project is administered by a social worker who has had worked professionally with Holocaust survivors for almost a decade with an agency in New York City, and it is a collaboration between individual volunteer professional translators and translation agencies in the US, Poland and Australia. We are in regular contact with Polish government agency representatives who answer our questions, and with the Claims Conference, which updates us on recent developments. We have also been fortunate enough to have obtained ongoing assistance from the law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.(top)

02. – Why was this site started?

When it became clear that Polish Holocaust survivors, their families and social workers were stymied in their efforts to apply for the pension because of the requirement that all correspondence be carried out in Polish, an effort was launched to provide free translation services to streamline the process. (top)

03. – Who is eligible for this pension?

The Polish government deems eligible anyone they consider to be a “victim of oppression”. Broadly, for Holocaust survivors, this category includes:*imprisonment in Nazi prisons, concentration and death camps
*imprisonment in other penal institutions, where living conditions were similar to those of concentration camps
*confinement to ghettos due to ethnic and racial reasons
*compulsory exile and deportation to the former USSRPlease note that excluded from these eligibility criteria are those who fled voluntarily from Poland, those who fought with Russian partisan groups, and those who hid in the forests or were given refuge by Poles. (top)

04. – Why must all correspondence be in Polish?

The Law on the Polish Language of 7 October 1999 mandated that governmental bodies perform all public tasks in Polish. The Law states that the Polish language is an essential element of Polish national identity, which must be protected especially in an age of globalization. (top)

05. – How do I begin the process of applying?

If an applicant or those assisting him have no background regarding the application, it might be worthwhile to read the overview of the process. The initial application, instructions and other pertinent information can be found here. (top)

06. – How much is it?

The payment is broken up into three parts (with corresponding payments current as of May 31, 2020):
The veteran’s benefit – 229.91 zł
The energy allowance – 171.41 zł
Compensatory allowance – 34.49 zł
This is a total of 435.81 zł, which is equivalent (as of May 31, 2020) to approximately $102.08/month. The payment is made quarterly, on the 20th of the third month. Thus, payments of 1307.43 zł (435.81/month x 3 months), or $329.18, are made on March 20, June 20, September 20, and December 20. (top)

07. – If I am rejected, can I appeal?

Yes. Please look at this section of the site for more information on appeals. (top)

08. – Are widows or widowers of Holocaust survivors entitled to the payment?

Widows and widowers are theoretically entitled to receive the payment, but the restrictions are limiting:
-The deceased spouse must have applied and been approved for the payment.
-The widow or widower of the deceased spouse must already be receiving a regular retirement pension from Poland.
-The widow or widower cannot receive both a payment for him- or herself as well as a payment for his or her deceased spouse.
Effectively, this means it is virtually impossible for widows and widowers living abroad to receive a payment on behalf of the deceased spouse. (top)

09. – Can I use as evidence the fact that I receive money from Germany?

Yes. When applying, you may include a copy of your BEG or Ghetto Pension proof of payment or life certificate to show that you have been recognized as being in a concentration camp or ghetto. (top)

10. – Will Poland pay out money for restitution for property seized from Jews during the war?

This is an ongoing issue, and various politicians have been pushing for restitution for all Jews who lost their property during the war. But it remains unresolved as of yet. One slight exception is that the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) recently published a list of properties in Warsaw and the names of Holocaust survivors who may have owned them and who have previously filed a claim for them. It is possible for these individuals to get some redress. Please look at the WJRO Website for more information. (top)

11. – Is there a deadline for applying?

No. Applications are being accepted continuously. (top)