NEW YORK (Oct. 10)
More than 100,000 victims of Nazism now living in 16 countries around the globe, have benefited this year from sums in excess of $9,000, 000 distributed by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, it was disclosed in the firs annual report presented to the Conference by its board of directors, according to an announcement here last night.
The German Federal Republic has agreed, in an undertaking signed in September, 1952, to make available to the Conference, over a period of years, the sum of $107,142, 857 which is par of the $822, 000, 000 reparations agreement negotiated between the Israel Government, West Germany and the Conference.
Dr. Nahum Goldmann, president of the Conference and architect of the reparations agreement, pointed out that “Conference allocations were not intended to replace local fund-raising or to relieve or absolve local communities of responsibility for maintaining the level of their assistance to Nazi victims.”
The Conference board of directors reported that out of the $9,000,000 granted for current use, $7, 035, 000 represented allocations for relief and economic rehabilitation. This sum was channeled in largest measure, through central welfare and communal organizations on the principal that they “are best qualified by experience and organization to make the most effective use of relief and rehabilitation grants.”
Countries to which Conference funds will flow include Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Greece, Italy. Luxemburg, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay and Yugoslavia. The allocations will be utilized to assist in emigration and rehabilitation and for the support of old age homes, orphanages, kindergartens, hospitals, health centers, special medical aid and related purposes. The disposition of the funds in the field of relief and rehabilitation will be largely supervised by the joint Distribution Committee.
JEWISH CLAIMS CONFERENCE STRESSES CULTURAL ALLOCATIONS
The board of directors disclosed in its report that it had voted “with solid unanimity to utilize Conference funds for cultural as well as economic rehabilitation, so as to put to effective use the spiritual energies that have survived the Nazi onslaught against Jewry. ” The initial sum allocated for this purpose amounts to $905, 000, approximately ten percent of all funds available to the Conference this year.
The Conference has established a cultural program encompassing the areas of education, research, publication and salvage. The program also includes individual scholarship and fellowship grants, the former intended to facilitate higher studies by outstanding refugee students, the latter to enable qualified professionals in the fields of Jewish art, letters, thought and social studies to undertake various research and creative projects. All beneficiaries of the cultural programs are required to be Jewish victims of Nazi persecution.
The Conference has also set aside the sum of $100, 000 for use by local communities in former Nazi-occupied territory, that are unable to maintain their own Jewish primary and secondary educational institutions.
Dr. Goldmann reported to the board of directors that the Conference is still striving to secure the amendments essential to the effective operation of the German Federal Indemnification law. The Conference was instrumental in bringing about the enactment of this law which enables tens of thousands of Nazi victims to press their claims for compensation arising out of Nazi persecution. Dr. Goldmann said. “It continues to work tirelessly for the improvement of legislation for the benefit of survivors and the implementation of the German legislative commitments to insure the speedy, effective processing of claims.”
The board of directors report noted that the Conference “is vitally concerned not only with taking measures for the enactment in Germany of the necessary indemnification and restitution laws but also to extend every aid to Nazi victims entitled to benefits who are unable to aid themselves.” For this purpose, the Conference has undertaken financial responsibility for the world-wide operations of the United Restitution Organization, which was established to provide legal and other assistance to indigent claimants in obtaining compensation and recovering assets under the restitution and indemnification laws.
The U. R. O. presently maintains offices in Germany and seven other western countries including the U.S., England, Canada and Israel. It will shortly open offices in Latin America and Australia.
100 JEWISH GROUPS SOUGHT ALLOCATIONS; PRIORITY SYSTEM ESTABLISHED
The Conference board of directors reported that upwards of 100 Jewish organizations operating in 31 countries submitted allocation requests for the current year totalling $54, 000, 000, nearly six times the funds available. In response to these requests, the Conference set up a system of priorities, top priority going to countries whose resources were insufficient to cope with the emergency relief requirements of Jewish victims of Nazism.
Conference allocations for rehabilitation and resettlement are also intended for activities such as emigration and reconstruction, which transcend national boundaries and cannot be pinpointed in any given country, the report said. It is estimated that emigration assistance for 1954 will provide benefits to about 5, 000 persons.
Reconstruction assistance will include the establishment or the extension of rehabilitation loan funds in Austria, Belgium, Greece, Germany, and Italy and the provision of vocational training in Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Holland and Italy. The overwhelming portion of relief and rehabilitation allocations were granted for use in Europe, particularly in former Nazi-occupied countries.