Holocaust survivors group slams results of Claims Conference talks

Foundation charges that compensation falls far short of survivors’ basic needs.

July 16, 2017 03:24
2 minute read.
Star of David

a holocaust survivor wears a yellow Star of David on his jacket during a ceremony marking Holocaust Remembrance Day at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA released a withering statement on Thursday, slamming the outcome of negotiations between the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the German government.

The main announcement highlighted by the Claims Conference on Wednesday was that Holocaust survivors of the death trains, pogroms and ghettos in Iasi, Romania, will for the first time be eligible to receive compensation pensions. It also announced an increase in the in-home services budget for 2018, from $399 million to $462m.

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But the Foundation, which is often critical of both the Claims Conference and the compensation process in general said: “Once again, the Claims Conference announcement of their so-called negotiations will mean little to thousands of survivors in dire need of serious health care, mental health care and all the rest of the services they currently are deprived of for lack of resources that Germany should have provided to so many deserving of help.”

The foundation represents Holocaust survivors in the US, fighting for their rights and raising awareness about the hardships and poverty they face.

While welcoming the “long overdue” announcement regarding the victims of the Iasi massacres, the group said that it “cannot be used to obscure the broader failure of the negotiations – once again.”

According to the foundation, $462m. allocated to in-home services is “tragically low when compared with survivors’ real-life needs, and when spread across the 67,000 survivors worldwide the Claims Conference said it served last year.”

It highlighted that funds for emergency services “are desperately and widely needed by Holocaust survivors and obscenely underfunded.”

Since 1952, the Claims Conference has negotiated for compensation and restitution for victims of Nazi persecution and their heirs.

The organization administers compensation funds, recovers unclaimed Jewish property, and allocates funds to institutions that provide social welfare services to Holocaust survivors and preserve the memory and lessons of the Holocaust.

There are an estimated 500,000 Holocaust victims alive today. Approximately 20% of them live in the US.

Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA maintains the Claims Conference’s role as an intermediary between Germany and the survivors is unnecessary. “It is time to end the piecemeal, secret negotiations that have failed to alleviate the poverty and suffering of so many survivors,” it argues. “Survivors need and deserve a comprehensive program of care fully funded by Germany for a new life, worry free for the last part of their lives. These funds should be channeled to the survivors through the US government or directly to survivors.”

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