Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

5 Av 5761 - July 25, 2001 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Private Company Charges Holocaust Survivors Exorbitant Fees
by S. Fried

While compensation from Germany's Remembrance, Responsibility and Future fund to former slave laborers during the Holocaust is being held up due to last minute complications, a scandal has arisen regarding fees charged for help in filling out the applications.

Mazkar, the journal of the Center of Organizations for Holocaust Survivors, recently published an article written by its spokesman, Uri Yaakov. Yaakov claims that the Yaffa Golan company charged survivors exorbitant rates for filling out simple applications.

The Yaffa Golan company has been operating for many years as a commercial office helping Holocaust survivors secure various types of benefits: generally for a fee. The Yaffa Golan company also revealed the fact that certain lawyers literally stole from Holocaust survivors by falsely promising to secure compensation for them. Uri Yaakov says that this time, Yaffa Golan invited former slave laborers to avail themselves of its services even before final agreement on the amount of compensation was made known. At that time, Yaffa Golan said that it would take a 10 percent commission on the amount received by each survivor.

Many Holocaust survivors agreed to pay the fee to the company, because in previous instances, they had found it difficult to handle claims for compensation on their own.

It later became obvious that there was no need for outside help, since the questionnaire is short and simple and the survivors can fill it out themselves without any difficulty. There are 102,000 Holocaust survivors in Israel today who receive monthly indemnities. Approximately 35,000 of them receive compensation from the Office for the Rehabilitation of Handicapped Nazi Victims in the Finance Ministry, handling monies received from Germany. About 27,000 receive funds through the Claims Committee from a special fund established five years ago.

All of these people received brief questionnaires in the mail. Nearly all are eligible for automatic compensation from the new fund. Public announcements were posted informing former slave laborers who were not included in former arrangements that they may secure the necessary forms at their local post office. The Center of the Organizations of Holocaust Survivors and the Claims Committee established joint, non-fee charging centers to help survivors fill out the forms. The Organizations Center claims that when the Yaffa Golan Company learned of the public announcements, it sent letters to all the 102,000 recipients of compensation, demanding that they forward them their applications. Yaffa Golan's aim, of course, was to make money.

Mr. Noach Flug, member of a number of Holocaust survivor groups, wrote the Yaffa Golan company a letter in which he noted that the letter it sent to the survivors lacks vital information and is liable to be misleading.

Questions that Mazkar directed to the Yaffa Golan company were answered by its communications advisor, Shlomo Abramowitz. However Mazkar claims that some of the questions remained unanswered.

The question remains concerning obligations signed by some of the former slave laborers before they learned that the process was so simple. Some have already told Yaffa Golan company that they will not agree to pay the promised commission. Uri Yaakov claims that Yaffa Golan had counted on NIS ten million in income at the expense of sick and elderly people.

Mazkar says that Yaffa Golan still has not responded to survivors' requests to cancel their agreements.


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