Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

3 Cheshvan 5764 - October 29, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Holocaust Survivors Must File Claims for Certain Compensation Funds SOON
by S. Fried

With the approach of the final filing dates to request compensation from various Holocaust survivor funds, more notices have appeared, calling eligible victims to hurry to file claims, or appeals for rejected claims.

The main fund is a German fund called "Memory, Responsibility and Future" directed to work-camp victims and forced laborers. The Claims Conference and the Center for Holocaust Survivor Organizations placed announcements encouraging those whose claims were rejected to submit appeals.

Appeals may be submitted for three months following the receipt of a letter of rejection. Letters of rejection were sent out recently.

At various centers help is available to assist people who receive rejection notices to draft a repeat request and to fill out the questionnaires. You can call the Claims Conference in Israel at 1-700-500-585.

The Austrian Reconciliation Fund has placed notices in Israel (in broken Hebrew) saying, "You will be compensated with monetary compensation if you: 1) suffered from the nationalist Nazi rule in Austrian territory and were compelled to perform forced labor or to work in camps; 2) were transported as children with your parents, or if you were born during the time when your mothers were performing forced labor in current Austrian territory; 3) based on national background due to political reasons, country of origin, religion, suffered personal harm and forced medical experiments during forced labor and in labor camps."

The Information Center for Holocaust Survivors explains this applies primarily to Jews from Hungary transported to Austria for forced labor. In most cases these survivors have already received compensation from various sources and now they are also eligible to receive money from Austria (from the same German fund) as compensation for forced labor, etc.

The Austrians grant a one-time sum equivalent to 7,500 euros and supplementary funding from the Swiss Humanitarian Fund. The final filing date for claims is December 31, 2003. For details call Austria directly at 0043-1-513-6016-14 or send a fax to 0043-1-513-6016-15.

Soon the "Memory, Responsibility and Future" fund will begin distributing special compensation payments to 6,000 victims of medical experiments, including Mengele twins. Eligible recipients will receive 8,300 marks (4,000 euro).

Another announcement addresses assets held in the former East Germany. Claims for communal and private property in Germany should have been filed by June 30, 1993, a few years after German reunification. As the official representative, the Claims Committee received unclaimed property and for the past ten years the rightful owners were able to request their property or its monetary equivalent from the Committee. Many Holocaust survivors and their heirs have complained that they do not know for certain whether or not they are eligible. Now the Claims Conference has decided to publicize the names of 60,000 people who may be eligible. The information is available online, but is protected to block access by impostors. Those who believe they may be eligible to receive property must enter the name of the property holder or other identifying details and will receive a personalized response. The Claims Conference can also be contacted directly in Germany (tel. 49-69-97-07-010, fax 49-69-97-07-0140) or at Information Centers in Israel.

The property return will be through payments from the Claims Conference's "Goodwill Fund," with a 20 percent deduction for the Claims Conference. The Committee supports various projects for Holocaust survivors in Israel and around the world.

The Claims Conference, set up immediately after World War II to handle negotiations with the German government over reparations and compensations, is now effectively approaching the end of the road after all possibilities for compensation have been exhausted. The number of eligible recipients decreases every year due to the advanced age of the survivors.

According to reports, Swiss banks have now agreed to grant investigators limited access to lists of names of people owning dormant accounts. Access to the lists is almost totally blocked because of obstacles the banks devise even though the names have supposedly been released online already.

Romania Eases Return of Jewish Property

The Romanian Parliament has decided to institute various leniencies regarding the return of Jewish property, both communal and private. The decision is slated for implementation within a few months.

After Romanian President Jon Iliescu got entangled time after time in interviews for antisemitic remarks about Jews robbing the poor Romanians of their property, the legislature has apparently decided to demonstrate a more moderate approach aimed at improving world opinion on Romania, which is seeking admission to the European Union.

According to the new regulations the procedure for property owners requesting the return of private property will be eased. Communal lots which were formerly sites for botei knesses and other institutions will be returned to communal organizations. These lots were nationalized at the time of the Communist takeover in Romania and their value is constantly increasing with the flourishing of the Romanian real estate market. Who will receive Jewish communal property remains unclear.


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