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
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
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
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