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Reparations Should Not Limit U.S. Benefits, Congress Says

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Members of Congress have gone to bat for a Holocaust survivor who nearly lost her subsidized housing because she received reparations from Germany.

They came to the aid of Fanny Schlomowitz, 83, who lives in federally subsidized housing in Phoenix. Her rent more than tripled when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development discovered that she was receiving war reparations.

Legislation discussed at a congressional hearing Wednesday would require federal agencies to ignore reparations received by Holocaust survivors in calculations for federal aid.

“Reparations payments are not meant to be full and adequate compensation for Holocaust survivors,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), who introduced the House version of the bill.

“It is unacceptable for these payments to diminish survivors’ eligibility for aid under any federal programs,” Waxman said at a hearing of the House Governmental Operations subcommittee on human resources and intergovernmental affairs.

Schlomowitz, who had been badly injured by Nazi beatings in the ghetto in Budapest, won a battle in March with HUD officials, who promptly returned her rent to its normal level.

Wednesday’s subcommittee hearing featured testimony by representatives of Jewish groups and a HUD official, all of whom spoke in favor of the bill.

The four-member subcommittee appeared “supportive” of the legislation, said Michael Lieberman, associate director of the Anti-Defamation League, which has pledged to work to support the bill in Congress.

The bill is expected to reach the House floor in early December, according to a Waxman aide.

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