Hungary intensifies its condemnations of Claims Conference


(JTA) — The Hungarian government urged the Claims Conference to "refrain from misleading, intentionally misguiding and provoking fear."

The announcement, which was published recently on the government’s website, is the latest escalation in an exchange that began last month when the Hungarian government froze money transfers to the Claims Conference, citing poor reporting. The Claims Conference — a New-York-based body representing world Jewry in talks on compensation for Holocaust-era persecution — denied the allegations and accused Budapest of “depriving” Holocaust survivors through “disgraceful, deceitful tactics.”

In the new online statement, the Hungarian government accused Claims Conference Executive Vice President Greg Schneider of using "tactics of making misleading, untrue claims that are designed to provoke fear and uncertainty in Holocaust survivors."

Hungary pledged $21 million in 2007 to Hungarian Holocaust survivors to be distributed over five years, in part by the Claims Conference. A new settlement was to be signed this year until Budapest’s decision to freeze money transfers.

Budapest also sought the return of $12.6 million that the government said it gave the Claims Conference. The Claims Conference said it only received $8 million for distribution among Hungarian Holocaust survivors living outside that country.

The money was transferred initially from the treasury to the Jewish Heritage of Hungary Public Endowment, or Mazsok, a committee of government officials and Jewish representatives. 

The Hungarian Ministry of Public Administration and Justice said that based on the report submitted by the Claims Conference to date, “it is impossible to identify the individuals eligible for compensation.”

The Claims Conference, according to an email sent to JTA, gave Budapest a 400-page report containing the names of all recipients and how much they received.

“Every penny was transferred to a Hungarian survivor, not even one cent was spent on administration or any other expense,” the Claims Conference said.

Recommended from JTA