The Claims Conference has decided to increase its spending on social welfare assistance to Holocaust survivors by some $67 million over three years.
In all, the Conference decided at its recent anuual meeting, it will distribute some $367 million from the Successor Organization, through which the Conference is legal owner of unclaimed Jewish property in the former East Germany. It manages and sells that property, transferring the proceeds to organizations that care for survivors.
The Conference also increased spending on homecare in Israel for elderly survivors by some $4.9 million, a roughly 10-percent increase, bringing the total spending for 2007 to $50 million.
According to the Conference, "Nazi victims in later years of life suffer from physical and emotional distress at higher rates than the elderly population as a whole. Prolonged malnutrition under the Nazis has affected their health in old ageâ€¦ There are particularly high rates of dementia and schizophrenia among Jewish victims of Nazism, and many are alone as a result of having lost their entire family during the Shoah."
In a statement, the Conference said that its "multi-year plan is an effort to ensure that critical homecare and other related needs of elderly Nazi victims living in the poorest conditions will be addressed over the next several years."
The Conference has come under criticism for what some have called "misplaced priorities," as millions of dollars each year are spent on Holocaust education and programming, rather than on the survivors themselves.
In 2006, the Conference distributed some $478 million through its various programs and funds.