FAQ / Questions and answers German pensions for Roma survivors
What are the requirements for a German ghetto pension?
1 - to have been deported;
2 - to have been born before 1940;
3 - to have worked voluntarily in the ghettos of Transnistria
4 - for those who were in Transnistria as children, to have a minimum service period of 3-4 years in Romania;
5 - be alive at the time of filing the application for the German pension.
Is it true that the descendants of the deportees also receive the ghetto pension?
No, this is a rumor spread by people who want to attract as many people as possible and who usually ask for different amounts of money for the preparation of "German pension files".
No, since it is a pension for work in the ghetto, only those who were deported to Transnistria and are still alive are entitled to it.
The only eligible descendants are the widow/widower (if they were legally married). The widow/widower can apply for the survivor's pension, but if this pension is granted, the money is not paid retroactively, but only from the date of filing the application.
If the survivor dies after submitting the application for the German pension, there is a possibility that he/she will receive the money if the German pension insurance decides to grant him/her this pension (however, he/she must submit the death certificate and proof that they are legal heirs).
Why is it said that Germany should be sued for these pensions?
To exploit the largest number of people. The 200 or so survivors who are still alive and could benefit from these German pensions are too few to bring enough income (material or convertible into votes).
Of the 25,000 Roma deported to Transnistria, about half died during the two years of deportation. Most of those who survived Transnistria died in the 70 years that have passed since then, especially since the life expectancy of Roma is relatively low.
Since the German law is clear (only the living are entitled to this pension), Dorin Cioaba made it clear that he will sue Germany to obtain a change in the German law so that the descendants can also receive these material rights (20,000 euros and 200 euros pension).
On this promise, about 30,000 descendants (more than the 1942 Roma deportees!) filed documents and some of them paid for the preparation of the files.
Is it true that they will receive 20,000 euros and a monthly pension of 200 euros?
No, this is a lie to attract gullible people. The pension can even be 10-20 euros/month. There is no fixed amount. It is calculated depending on the amount of work done in Transnistria. For example, someone who was 20 years old could work harder than a 10 year old. Someone who stayed longer in Transnistria probably worked harder than someone who stayed only a few months, and therefore has a chance to get a higher pension. It is also calculated according to the type of work done in Transnistria. Those who were adults in Transnistria (i.e. are at least nineteen years old, i.e. very few Roma) actually have a chance to receive a pension of close to 200 euros/month. However, most surviving Roma will receive less money.
What are the chances for the descendants after the German court proceedings to receive the promised money?
No chance. If Germany absurdly agreed to compensate the descendants of the deported Roma, a legal precedent would be set. Several tens of millions of descendants of Roma, Jews, Poles, Russians, etc. would emerge, also demanding tens of thousands of euros.
The lawsuit with Germany is nothing more than a pretext to pose as the defender of the needy and to justify collecting various amounts of money from a large number of people who were given the hope of receiving German reparations.
Do you need a lawyer to get this pension?
No lawyer is required. The German pension offices receive, process and translate the documents from the files and perform the necessary verifications absolutely free of charge. If something is missing from the file, the German authorities will contact the survivors and request the missing documents.
I receive a call from the office of the mediator Dorin Cioaba and I am told to go to Sibiu to sign a contract that obliges me to give up 30% of my rights.
It is shameful to take advantage of Holocaust survivors. German pension offices work for free. The file can be created relatively easily and without cost. A minimum of organization and solidarity is necessary. The association of Jews from Romania who were victims of the Holocaust, which has a long experience in helping their fellow citizens free of charge, can serve as a model. The same must be done with the Roma survivors, who must be helped and not cheated.
The Community Resource Center, the National Agency for Roma and various local branches of the Roma Party process such files free of charge. Other organizations, representatives, relatives of the survivors, etc. are asked to obtain information from various sources and selflessly help the survivors. The conditions are explained on the website www.roma-survivors.ro, where you can also find the forms, addresses of German pension institutions, etc.
What does the German pension file contain?
- the form ZRBG 100 (in German, English and Romanian);
- the notarial self-declaration on Transnistria;
- the bank account and the form in which the bank data are entered;
- form certifying that the person is alive at the time of filing the file;
- proof that s/he has been deported;
- proof that s/he has 3-4 years of professional experience in Romania;
- photocopies of the ID, birth and marriage certificates, etc.
You can find more information here: http://roma-survivors.ro/ro/pensii-germane/continutul-dosarului-pentru-pensia-germana
How much does the German pension file cost?
Nothing. The pension insurance institutions in Germany receive and process the files absolutely free of charge.
Do the survivors have to pay for the German translation of the notarial statement and other documents in the pension file?
No. The German authorities know that many of the Roma survivors are poor and live in the countryside, so they cannot afford a translator. Therefore, both the notarial declarations and the other documents are translated by the German authorities with the help of their own translators.
Can I send the pension file to Germany myself or do I have to call someone?
It is advisable to send the documents directly to the pension offices in Germany without contacting various intermediaries who, unfortunately, often take advantage of the Roma's ignorance to demand different amounts of money from them.
Is it necessary to send the documents with acknowledgement of receipt?
No, but it is better to be sure that your dossier has reached the pension office responsible for processing it.
What happens after the file is sent?
If you send the file with acknowledgement of receipt, in about 1-2 weeks you will receive the form signed by the German official to whom you sent the file.
After another 2-3 weeks, you will receive an envelope from the pension office that will take care of your file. In short, the Germans will tell you that they are trying to process your file as soon as possible. This is confirmation that your file has been processed and you have been assigned a policy an insurance number. Usually in this envelope you will also find the name of the caseworker who will be handling your case and a phone/email number. Please include your insurance number (Versicherungsnummer) which can be used to identify you:
Dear Mr. / Dear Ms. X,
We are notifying you that we have received your application for a ghetto pension. We will make every effort to process the file as soon as possible. If you wish to contact us, please provide the number you received with this envelope. Thank you.
If German officials later discover that they need additional information or that certain documents are missing from the file, a signature was forgotten, etc., survivors will receive a notice in the mail telling them what to do.
Finally, if the German authorities approve the pension, the survivors will receive by mail the notice from the German pension office informing them of the entitlements granted: the amount of the pension as of 2007, the monthly pension until death, other entitlements, how the pension was calculated, when the pension will be transferred, etc.
I sent the file to a pension institution in Germany (e.g. in Bochum), but I received a reply from another pension institution in Germany (e.g. Berlin or Wuerzburg). Is this normal?
Yes, there are three pension offices in Germany that deal with ghetto pensions (Bochum, Berlin, Wuerzburg). They work together and assign files to each other.
How long does it take for the money to arrive?
It depends. At least a couple of months. During this time, the German authorities translate and check the documents to find out if the person was really deported, if he or she is still alive and if he or she has completed a minimum period of service in Romania, which is why they contact the Romanian pension offices.
But why do some say that "the money will come in two weeks"?
To reassure them and make it easier to convince the survivors to sign various documents in advance or to transfer certain amounts of money, on the grounds that this is the only way they will receive their money quickly from Germany.
How will the survivors receive the pension money? Account or checks?
The German pension insurance companies prefer to transfer the money directly to the account of the survivors. In other compensation cases in the past, there were many irregularities (other people cashed the survivors' checks, abused their name similarity or power in the community). The German authorities want to limit these abuses.
Why do you need a certain period of service in Romania? And for how long?
It is a pension that the Germans may (or may not) grant based on work in Transnistria. But as with any pension, a minimum period of service is required. In Germany, this is 60 months (five years). Since the deportation was only two years ago, the survivor must prove at least three to four years of service in Romania, which together with the years of work in Transnistria would add up to the five years required by German law.