HERZLIYA (Jul. 16)
The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) announced that 63,000 Holocaust survivors in 23 countries received payments from the special Claims Conference Hardship Fund within the past four years.
“The majority of all beneficiaries of the Hardship Fund are citizens of Israel,” Dr. Israel Miller, president of the Claims Conference, reported to the organizations’ Board of Directors meeting in Herzliya where he was reelected for another term. There are 40,539 claimants in Israel, 16,665 in the United States, and 6,089 in other countries, according to the report.
The Claims Conference Hardship Fund was established primarily to provide one-time grants to Jewish victims of Nazi persecution who emigrated from Eastern Europe after 1965 when the filling period for claims under West Germany’s Indemnification Law expired. The German government committed 400 million Deutsche Marks for this purpose.
Saul Kagan, administrator of the Hardship Fund, told the Claims Conference Board that 315 million Deutsche Marks (approximately $145 million) were already paid out to the successful clients–DM 202,695,000 in Israel, DM 83,325,000 in the U.S., and DM 30,445,000 in other countries. “The Fund must still process 28,000 applications which present many complex legal and factual issues,” Kagan said.
The Claims Conference also allocated DM 20 million (about $9 million) to institutions which provide shelter to aged Jewish victims of Nazism. Akiva Levinsky, vice president of the Claims Conference and chairman of its allocations committee, in reviewing the grants to 68 institutions in 15 countries said that 56 percent of all the allocations “went for the expansion, modernization and equipment of homes caring for frail elderly survivors in Israel.”
The Board of Directors marked 35 years since the Claims Conference was established by 22 major American and international Jewish organizations convened for this purpose in 1951 by the late Dr. Nahum Goldmann. The Conference negotiated with West Germany the basic indemnification and restitution agreements providing compensation for personal injuries and property losses caused by the Nazis.
“Our task is far from finished,” Miller stated. “Nearly 200,000 Jewish victims of Nazism throughout the world who currently receive payments from Germany look to the Claims Conference for the protection of their interests.”
The Board approved arrangements for the distribution of DM 5 million (about $2.3 million) which the Claims Conference recently received from Dynamit-Nobel, a German industrial company. These funds will be paid out to surviving Jewish concentration camp inmates who worked as slave laborers in Dynamit-Nobel factories, Miller said.