The new top leadership team of the embattled World Jewish Congress will head to Eastern Europe soon to re-energize stalled negotiations over Holocaust-era restitution payments, Michael Schneider, the group’s next secretary general, said this week.
The political discussions will represent a return by the WJC, perceived as rudderless in recent years, to the activity that cemented its reputation as a representative of Jewish interests.
In the late 1970s the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the New York-based organization that supports Jewish life in small communities around the world, needed someone to head its office in Tehran.
Two JDC staffers told Ralph Goldman, the Joint’s executive vice president, that he should consider Michael Schneider, a social worker in London.
After a four-hour interview with Schneider, a native of South Africa who left his homeland to escape arrest for anti-apartheid activities, Goldman offered him the job in Iran.