Photo Credit: Public Domain / Wine Guy / Wilkimedia

The New York State Department of Financial Services has asked state-chartered financial institutions to waive wire transfer and processing fees for recipients of Holocaust reparations if they do not already do so.

“These fees impose a significant burden on elderly Holocaust survivors, victims and heirs who often rely on these payments to meet their everyday needs,” Acting Superintendent Adrienne Harris said in a press release on Wednesday. “Waiving these fees sends a powerful message on the willingness of New York’s financial community to have a meaningful impact on the lives of the people they serve.”

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The department estimated that over 20,000 Holocaust survivors currently live in the New York City metro area. The Holocaust survivors and their heirs are charged between $15 and $40 per transaction on each compensation payment.

The department created in 1997 the Holocaust Claims Processing Office to “help Holocaust victims and their heirs recover assets deposited in banks; unpaid proceeds of insurance policies issued by European insurers; and artworks that were lost, looted or sold under duress.”  The HCPO has received claims from 46 states and 40 countries to date, and has helped secure “over $182 million in offers for bank, insurance, and other losses.” The office has also assisted in settlements involving 179 cultural objects.

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