Holocaust survivors to get 'emergency aid' ahead of High Holy Days

Tens of thousands of needy Holocaust survivors in Israel will receive a small grant, dubbed an "emergency assistance" fund, from the Holocaust Victims Assets Restitution Company for Rosh Hashana, the company announced Sunday. The funds, totaling some NIS 3 million, will be transferred to 17 organizations that provide health and welfare services, food and legal and bureaucratic assistance to needy Holocaust survivors. These groups "are doing sacred work, and the company will continue to support them in the future, and even to increase its assistance as long as the company continues to receive assets of victims whose heirs cannot be found," said company CEO Zvi Kanor, a former businessman and air force brigadier-general. The Holocaust Victims Assets Restitution Company is a government agency established by the Knesset in 2006 charged with discovering and returning assets owned by Holocaust victims to their rightful heirs. The company has distributed some NIS 200m. in the past two years to some 24,000 needy survivors, in addition to working for the return of assets to rightful heirs, mostly in the form of long-dormant bank accounts and real estate. The company's Web site currently has a searchable list of over 60,000 shareholders in the pre-war Jewish Colonial Trust, and an online application for notifying the company about as-yet undiscovered assets. According to the company, there are some 82,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel, of whom some 10,000 are recognized by the Finance Ministry as poor and deserving of a government stipend.