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Claims Conference Woes
Tue, 07/02/2013 - 20:00

The shenanigans going on with the Claims Conference for Holocaust funds is reprehensible (“We Cannot Investigate Ourselves … And Expect To Resolve Doubts, June 7).

I am 65 years old and was born in a DP camp. My parents, survivors of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, died when I was relatively young. Except for a cousin, their entire families perished in the Holocaust and all their property, including land and businesses, was taken from them. Any elderly Holocaust survivor who is in need of food, medicine or financial assistance, which Germany made available, should receive the additional funding through the Claims Conference.

While I realize Holocaust survivors will say that the money given by Germany belongs to them, I can suggest other venues where this money would help the children, grandchildren and future generations of those who suffered in the Holocaust, like funds for the Jewish education of children and future generations. How many rabbinical schools offer courses in Holocaust history or education? This is the way to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and those who died.  

Are we going to allow the same leadership of the Claims Conference, those who were at the helm when over $50 million was stolen? It is time for new leadership. Unless others join me in speaking out, 10 years from now we will be reading about more theft and misuse of funds while most of the Holocaust survivors will have died.

Edison, N.J.

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@Jeannette Friedman - With all due respect, what Isi Leibler did was allow the Jewish community to see how the Conference operates and he should be commended for doing so. Your claim that Mr. Liebler's efforts were designed to put the control into the hands of the Israeli government is pure fantasy. And as far as your comment related to the fraud, I'm afraid it's you, Jeannette who does not understand how things really work. If you honestly think there were only 4951 fraudulent applications out of a total of over a half million, than you are naive. Kudos to the likes of Mr. Leibler and Rabbi Rosenberg who have the guts to step forward and stand up for survivors.

Regardless of Ben Rosenberg's fantasies, 2Gs are not entitled to even a plugged nickel from the Claims Conference unless they were born in Occupied territory during the Holocaust and are considered Child Survivors--and even that will not be determined until the summer of 2014, after the World Federation of Child Survivors and their descendants meet in Berlin. Second of all, the new money that came goes to Jewish agencies to pay for homecare. And even though billions have passed through the hands of the CC, and tens of millions were stolen by a clever Russian gang, the almost one Billion that was given to the CC last month barely covers homecare needs of the survivors here in the States, in Israel and anywhere else in the world. Home care is expensive. Do the math. It's $480 a day for 24 hr. care at $20 an hour, which is the going rate, averaging $170K per YEAR per Survivor. Now if you don't have parents going broke paying for their own homecare, why should you care if other survivors drop dead from lack of services, especially if you want to put the money in your own pocket? Of course, the greedy me me me 2Gs I have heard from don't give a damn about reality, because all they can see is the fraud perpetrated by the Russians and they have no clue how things really work. They also do not realize that what Isi Liebler did by writing that letter to set the whole scandal off again was a deliberate attempt by Bibi Netanyahu and company to wrest control of negotiations and allocations away from the Claims Conference and put it into the hands of the Israeli government. And their record on the treatment of Holocaust survivors is documented and abysmal.

I have worked on these issues for more than 20 years as an advocate for survivors and have always been told to put a sock in it. But when 2Gs go off the deep end and demand money for their victimization, I am no longer going to sit back and shut up. I am tired of the cult of victimization that has eaten the Jewish community alive, starting with the 2Gs who demand entitlements. They are entitled to NOTHING, and neither are the Jewish organization that have rich sugar daddies and come to the trough for money that does not belong to them either.

a. It is NOT "that survivors will say that the money given by Germany belongs to them", it is that this is the basis on which the Claims Conference GETS the money from Germany, and the reason for it in their negotiations - and its own public relations persona. and b. Most of the money is already - despite the PR that claims otherwise - being diverted to future generations of all Jews,worldwide, while Holocaust survivors are used as "bait".. The fact that you are not aware of how the money is allocated is based on the total disconnect between how the Claims Conference pretends the money is spent and where it actually goes, and the lack of transparency and openness on the part of the Claims Conference. 'You don't have to worry that needy Holocaust survivors will be taken care of instead of your children and grandchildren. They won't.