web analytics
November 27, 2014 / 5 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Claims Conference Will Not Be Deterred


The Claims Conference (as reported in last week’s Jewish Press) discovered a fraud perpetrated against the organization. In a sophisticated criminal scheme, falsified and phony documents were submitted to programs that make payments to Jewish victims of Nazism. These programs, funded by the German government, have been targeted by persons seeking to extract payments to which they were not entitled.

Upon discovering the fraud, the Claims Conference immediately contacted U.S. federal law enforcement authorities and, with them, is mounting a vigorous and thorough investigation to determine the scope and source of the fraud.

In short, it was the Claims Conference that discovered the fraud. It was the Claims Conference that brought in law enforcement. And it is the Claims Conference that will see this issue through to resolution.

This fraud is a sophisticated operation of falsifying an array of identity and archival documents, perpetrated by people with a detailed knowledge of Claims Conference application procedures. Employees who processed applications were fired in February. Recently, the Claims Conference unearthed what may be fraudulent documents that were the basis for a total of about $7 million in pension payments to 202 individuals. Upon uncovering this fact, the Claims Conference: (I) suspended payments on these pensions; (II) demanded the return of all funds under this program paid to date; and (III) gave each relevant beneficiary the right to appeal.

The Claims Conference is outraged at the actions of criminals who targeted its programs. In addition to continuing the investigation, the Claims Conference is implementing a number of measures to protect against being victimized in the future. We also want to reassure the community that no survivor payments were affected.

In total, the Claims Conference has paid 106,761 pensions and has distributed more than $4.7 billion under these programs. These payments represent decades of ongoing negotiations with the German government, during which the Claims Conference labored mightily to secure and increase funds for ever more Holocaust victims.

Given that these were hard-fought agreements reached with the German government, the Claims Conference is outraged that criminals would exploit programs intended to assist needy Holocaust victims for their own financial gain.

In the meantime, Claims Conference activities continue at full speed. We have allocated over $215 million this year for homecare, medicine, food programs and other social welfare services for Shoah survivors in 46 countries.

But, as we well know, the needs of Holocaust victims are greater than the resources available. The Claims Conference board of directors has approved a four-year plan to allocate the organization’s funds – approximately $543 million – obtained from the recovery of Jewish property in the former East Germany. Since 1995, the proceeds from these recovered properties have provided vital services to survivors such as homecare, food packages and hot meals, medical care, and winter relief. However, the recovery of property is drawing to a close, with future income from this endeavor diminishing rapidly.

The Claims Conference has an urgent mission to explain the plight of Shoah survivors to the world and bring additional resources to help them. As stated above, existing restitution-related funding for survivor needs will be virtually gone within few years. It is very clear that after the funds are gone, many Holocaust victims will still be with us, older and in more need of care.

Knowing that the needs will outlast the available funds, our focus in recent years in annual negotiations with the German government has been to obtain funds for homecare. Despite all of the obstacles, the Claims Conference has been uniquely successful in increasing the funds available to assist survivors. In 2010, the Claims Conference obtained approximately $77 million from the German government for homecare, nearly double the amount negotiated in 2009.

Further, the Claims Conference, together with the World Jewish Restitution Organization, is working assiduously to convince governments in Poland, Lithuania and elsewhere in Eastern Europe to finally fulfill their obligation and restitute Jewish property stolen during the Shoah. Proceeds from heirless properties could provide homecare, warm meals, medical care, and winter relief to elderly Shoah victims.

The Claims Conference, as the largest provider of services to Holocaust survivors worldwide, is painfully aware of the inadequacy of the current funds to meet their needs. Others have joined us in recognizing the needs and the urgency of addressing them. The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, one of the largest Jewish foundations in the world, has just announced a $10 million fund for emergency needs for Shoah survivors in North America.

To their credit, the Weinberg Foundation trustees did the research, studied these issues and concluded that on top of all of the Claims Conference contributions and our four year spend-down plan, additional funds are needed for survivors. They asked the Claims Conference to administer the funds and their visionary leadership in providing supplemental funds should be an example to all.

With such a pressing task confronting us, nothing will deter us from our vital mission. The Claims Conference continues to work provide dignity to survivors in their final years and to advocate for their rights as long as necessary.

Julius Berman is chairman of the Claims Conference.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Claims Conference Will Not Be Deterred”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Betar soccer fans pour out on the field at Jerusalem's Teddy Stadium, where Hamas planned to carry out a mass-casualty attack.
Hamas Planned Massive Attack at Teddy Soccer Stadium in Jerusalem
Latest Indepth Stories
Rabbi Maurice Lamm

Creativity without clarity is not sufficient for writing. I am eternally thankful to Hashem for his gift to me.

Golden presents a compelling saga of poor but determined immigrants who fled pogroms and harsh conditions in their homelands for a better life in a land of opportunity.

It seems to us that while the Jewish entitlement to the land of Israel transcends the Holocaust, the Jewish experience during that tragic time is the most solid of foundations for these “national rights.”

Too many self-styled civil rights activists seemed determined to force, by their relentless pressure, an indictment regardless of what an investigation might turn up.

Egypt’s al-Sisi is in an expansionist mood. He wants Israel’s permission to take over Judea and Samaria.

Cries of justice for Michael Brown drowned out any call for justice for Police Officer Daryl Wilson.

Cloistered captain Obama, touts his talents and has the temerity to taunt Bibi,his besieged ally

Former PM Ariel Sharon succinctly said, “the fate of Netzarim (Gush Katif) is the fate of Tel-Aviv.”

“What’s a line between friends?”

Unrest in YESHA and J’m helps Abbas and Abdullah defuse anger, gain politically and appear moderates

A “Shliach” means to do acts with complete devotion and dedication in order to help bring Moshiach.

The pogroms in Chevron took place eighty five years ago, in 1929; the Holocaust began seventy-five years ago in 1939; the joint attack of Israel’s neighbors against the Jewish State of Israel happened sixty-six years ago… yet, world history of anti-Semitism did not stop there, but continues until today. Yes, the primitive reality of Jews […]

“We don’t just care for the children; we make sure they have the best quality of life.”

“Why do people get complacent with the things they’re told?”

More Articles from Julius Berman

The Claims Conference (as reported in last week’s Jewish Press) discovered a fraud perpetrated against the organization. In a sophisticated criminal scheme, falsified and phony documents were submitted to programs that make payments to Jewish victims of Nazism. These programs, funded by the German government, have been targeted by persons seeking to extract payments to which they were not entitled.

Mrs. Thatcher told us that Mrs. Gandhi had complained to her that America’s attitude toward India was nowhere near as positive as she would have expected it to be toward a fellow democracy.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/claims-conference-will-not-be-deterred/2010/08/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: