German neo- Nazi during demonstration R 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ina Fassbender)
The Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, better known as the
Claims Conference, appointed former government administrator Shmuel Hollander as
its ombudsman, the group announced on Tuesday.
Hollander – who served as
an Civil Service commissioner under Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and former
prime ministers Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert – will be tasked with
overseeing the activities of the organization, which represents Jewish victims
of the Nazis and their allies in talks with European governments over
“We are highly pleased to welcome Shmuel Hollander as
Claims Conference ombudsman,” said chairman Julius Berman. “His impeccable
credentials and decades of public service will enhance the work of the Claims
Conference in advocating for the rights of Holocaust victims and caring for
elderly victims who increasingly need our aid. Mr. Hollander will be an asset to
our organization and a voice for Holocaust victims around the world.”
recent years the group has been shaken by a series of frauds. Last year, US
authorities indicted 25 people including some Claims Conference employees for
stealing an estimated $57 million from the group.
Its decision to appoint
an ombudsman, who will have the authority to “[determine] whether a grievance,
problem or concern raised by a complainant warrants follow-up activity,” is an
attempt to provide greater transparency and assuage criticism.
group’s decision is unlikely to appease some of its harshest critics, who say an
ombudsman appointed by the Claims Conference itself would lack the independence
to audit its activities freely.