A Latham cross-office team recently celebrated a pro bono success for a Holocaust survivor client, who was awarded a German Ghetto Pension (ZRBG) award of US$53,100 in back payments, and a monthly lifetime pension of $243. During many phone calls over the course of last summer, our client shared his personal persecution details and helped us build a compelling narrative to submit reparations filings on his behalf. The team’s thorough research and a well-supplemented submission paid off in December 2020 when the German pension agency awarded our client a lifetime ZRBG pension and a sizable back payment.
Our client was a child when German forces invaded Poland in September 1939, and forced him and his parents to live in the Warsaw Ghetto. He helped his father, who was an expert in electroplating and owned a small factory shop in the ghetto. The family survived the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in different hiding places in 1944, but they were eventually discovered and shipped off by German troops to a transit center in Germany, as Polish slave laborers. Once in Germany, father and son constantly feared that their Jewish identity might be revealed and barely evaded a medical inspection. Our client and his father carried cyanide to use in case their captors realized they were Jews. All three family members narrowly survived the war and found their way to the US via Israel.
Since 2008, Latham teams in several US offices have assisted hundreds of Holocaust survivors who lived and worked in a ghetto. In the course of our work, we have gained valuable insights into certain specifics of the reparations language, and the requirements of two programs we assist on: ZRBG, better known as the German Ghetto Pension program, and GGWP, a filing for a one-time reparations payment of EUR 2,000.
The Latham team included associates Sarah Lohschelder and Daniel Grill, summer associate Lauren Hanna, and attorney support supervisor Anna Bravo, with supervision and support from Carlos Alvarez and Larry Safran.