(JTA) – Romania’s Parliament passed legislation that would provide increased direct financial support for Holocaust survivors.
The funds, a monthly payment of up to $97.98 per month for each year of deportation or detention, will be available beginning in July to those who were persecuted in Romania between 1940 and 1945, including deportees to ghettos and concentrations camps, survivors of the death trains and forced labor detachments, refugees and those who were imprisoned for ethnic reasons or forcefully removed from their homes in that period.
Survivors who no longer have Romanian citizenship or reside in the country, as well as the spouse of a deceased Holocaust survivor if they did not remarry, also are eligible.
The law was initiated by Silviu Vexler, a Parliament member representing the Federation of the Jewish Communities in Romania, the vice-chair of the Romania-Israel Parliamentary Group of Friendship and the vice chairman of the Labor and Social Protection Committee in the Chamber of Deputies.
“This law is a symbolic gesture to further recognize the terrifying suffering of people who have been through the darkest of moments,” Vexler said in a statement before the Chamber of Deputies following the final vote on the law. “Even though nothing can change what happened in the past, through this act, the Parliament of Romania does a true gesture of humanity and dignity.”
Before World War II, Romania had a Jewish population of over 700,000. Between 280,000 and 380,000 Jews were murdered or died during the Holocaust in Romania and the territories under its control, according to the Final Report of the International Commission on the Holocaust in Romania published in 2004.