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Jewish Claims Conference Reports $80,000,000 Aid to Nazi Victims

October 26, 1961
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A total of $80,000,000 in reparations funds from the West German Government has been distributed since 1954 by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany to more than 150,000 victims of the Nazi era now residing in 30 countries, it was reported here today at the 16th annual overseas conference of the Joint Distribution Committee.

Speaking at the Claims Conference session, Moses A. Leavitt, JDC vice-chairman, said: “In exercising our unique responsibility of using German reparations money both humanely and constructively on behalf of Nazi victims throughout the world, we have needed the wisdom of a Solomon. Posterity will judge if we displayed it.”

He pointed out that with many major objectives attained and with only three years left of its term of existence, the Claims Conference was now concerning itself increasingly with needs which it previously had not been able to meet.

“While we cannot expect to have sufficient time and funds to completely fulfill unmet needs, there are very important areas in which we can hope at least to lay the groundwork and set in motion programs which will be carried out after 1964,” he said. He cited mental health problems in Europe as one of these areas. He said there was a high incidence of mental illness and disturbance among European Jews, particularly among Nazi victims and that the facilities for treatment were inadequate.


Saul Kagan, secretary of the Claims Conference, cited the capital investment program of the Conference as one of its most significant achievements. “Combined with local funds,” he said, “these allocations have had a key role in rebuilding ravaged Jewish communities in helping to provide new buildings and facilities for old age homes, kindergartens, religious institutions, community and youth centers and summer camps.”

He said that “looking to 1962 and beyond, in fact, we believe that this task of communal reconstruction in terms of new buildings is approaching the end. In overwhelming measure, the projects already completed, those underway and those approved in principle may be expected to absorb the funds earmarked for this purpose.” He explained that this meant that “new major capital projects have little chance of Conference approval because of the great volume of our present commitments.”

“We feel, however, that with the completion of projects already on the drafting board, we will have helped to create the essential physical facilities needed for our Jewish communal life,” he said.

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