Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

2 Sivan 5768 - June 5, 2008 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Holocaust Claims Committee to Grant 1,315 Survivors Restitution Grants

by Yated Ne'eman Staff

The Tel Aviv District Court ruled that the Israel Claims Committee must pay 1,315 Holocaust victims a total sum of NIS 13.5 million ($4 million) or NIS 14,500 ($4,500) per claimant after neglecting to carry out its task by not informing them of the proper procedure to receive restitution grants from the German government. A claim by another 550 survivors was rejected because the statute of limitations had expired.

"The Claims Committee had an obligation to the claimants. It had moral responsibility. It violated its concrete obligation toward the claimants by not making available to them the proper tools for reaching a decision. Most of all, it denied them vital information of relevance to them. At the very least it should have provided every applicant a booklet and guidance in the language in which he or she is fluent," wrote Judge Oded Mudrik. "In my opinion, the Claims Committee could have faithfully and properly carried out its obligation to the claimants without any conflict with its obligations toward the German government, but it failed. Its failure is a big failure."

The claim dealt with a one-time adjustment grant of 5,000 marks given at the time to Jewish victims suffering health damage as a result of Nazi violence. The grant was given to immigrants who arrived in Israel from the former Soviet Union during the 1980s. The Claims Committee apparently set strict eligibility criteria, demanding proof of 80 percent disability or 50 percent loss of ability to work, though the German government required only evidence of "substantially impaired health."

According to recent media reports the Holocaust Claims Committee has over $1 billion in unclaimed funds, much of which allegedly goes to organizations that are not directly involved with Holocaust survivors.

This brought to a conclusion the NIS 19-million ($6-million) suit the Children of War Organization filed against the Claims Committee. Semyon Werman, chairman of Children of War, which was founded in the 1950s and represents dozens of organizations, said he was satisfied with ruling, but added that he anticipates another battle so that other survivors would also receive restitution. "In our opinion, in all matters related to the Holocaust using the statute of limitations is not respectable," said Atty. Yoram Sheftel, who represents the claimants. He also said he was shocked that an Israeli judge accepted the statute of limitations argument against Holocaust survivors and intends to appeal the decision.

Atty. Uri Keidar, who represents the Claims Committee, noted the organization has already transferred payments to 300,000 survivors, saying attempts to depict it as an organization that does not hand out founds are misleading. He says the Claims Committee conducted negotiations with the German government in an effort to hammer out grant criteria. "They're basically a pipeline working with the German government and it's not their money," he explained, saying he would file a High Court appeal against the ruling.


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.