William Donat stood at the podium in the dimly lit main sanctuary of Congregation Emanu-El and peered out at the 2,500 solemn faces sitting in the pews.
"As I look out at the audience this Yom HaShoah [Holocaust Remembrance Day], I see fewer survivors out there," noted Donat, a child of Holocaust survivor and author Alexander Donat. "Time is taking its toll. And it is fair to ask what shall be when all the adult survivors are gone?"
The answer could be found all around Donat, a child survivor of the Warsaw ghetto.
At least 17 German banks and industrial firms have agreed to contribute to a fund from which payments will be made to an estimated 100,000 Jews who served as slave laborers during the Holocaust, the German government announced this week. Needy survivors may also be entitled to payments from the fund.
The government hopes the fund will begin making payments to survivors by Sept. 1, the 60th anniversary of Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland and the start of World War II, according to Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress.
A request to charge $1,500 for reading the book "Nazi Gold" is contained in a court document from lawyers of Holocaust victims who are seeking $13.5 million in fees from the $1.25 billion Swiss bank settlement, according to the World Jewish Congress.
"Holocaust survivors are being exploited by a feeding frenzy of fee-grabbing lawyers," charged WJC executive director Elan Steinberg.