Claims Conference to Fund $285m. in Holocaust Victim Services

New York, NY – August 15, 2012 – The Claims Conference is increasing global allocations this year for vital social services for elderly Jewish Holocaust survivors and victims of Nazism. For programs in 2012, a total of approximately $285 million in allocations were approved, an increase of approximately $15 million over 2011.

Programs Receiving Claims Conference Funds

Allocations were made for services for Holocaust victims in 47 countries including homecare for the homebound, medical coverage, food programs, transportation, emergency cash grants, winter relief, case management and socialization programs. Details of allocations are on the Claims Conference website; a snapshot of allocations follows:

  • In-home services for Nazi victims worldwide enable them to remain in their own homes with a measure of dignity. Survey research indicates that 25 percent of all Jewish Holocaust victims in the U.S. live at or below the official U.S. poverty threshold line, compared to 13 percent of all U.S. elderly.
  • Special on-going service programs for Holocaust victims in more than 50 communities in the U.S. and Canada. Claims Conference funds enable these agencies to provide homecare, transportation assistance, social programs and emergency cash grants.
  • In Israel, the Claims Conference is the primary funder of homecare service beyond what is provided by the National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi) for more than 22,000 Nazi victims.
  • Lifesaving services for impoverished Nazi victims in the former Soviet Union. The Claims Conference funds hunger relief such as a half-million meals on wheels and hot meals in communal settings; nearly 7 million hours of homecare, including assistance with washing, dressing, cooking and housekeeping; winter relief such as coal, wood or gas, materials for sealing windows, warm blankets, coats and clothes and grants for electricity.
  • Expanded services for Nazi victims in South America. Agencies in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela receive Claims Conference allocations to provide medical assistance, food programs, homecare and other services.

Sources of Claims Conference Allocations for 2012

Forty percent of allocations for 2012 programs are from the Claims Conference Successor Organization. In 1990, when Germany was reunified, the Claims Conference negotiated for the right of previous Jewish owners and heirs to file claims for properties in the former East Germany that were confiscated from them under the Nazis. Additionally, the Claims Conference secured the right to recover unclaimed assets – as opposed to the state taking ownership – as a means to fund social service programs for Holocaust survivors worldwide; thus the founding of the Successor Organization responsible for more than $1 billion in grants since 1995, primarily to social welfare agencies worldwide that provide a “social safety net” for the neediest and most vulnerable Jewish victims of Nazi persecution. The Successor Organization also provides grants for Shoah (Holocaust) research, education and documentation.

In recent years, the Claims Conference has negotiated increased funding from the German government for the needs of aging Nazi victims, obtaining approximately $162 million for 2012, which accounts for nearly 57 percent of the 2012 allocations disbursed by the Claims Conference.

Other sources of support include funds from the Austrian and Hungarian governments negotiated by the Claims Conference, as well as the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.