Are you sure you are a Holocaust survivor?
An important message for Holocaust survivors and their families
by Rebecca A. Utay
DJW Staff Writer
There is a new deadline for Holocaust survivors to apply to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc. - the Claims Conference - for compensation for slave and forced labor performed under Nazi rule. Previously Aug. 11, 2001, the deadline is now Dec. 31, 2001 for most survivors to complete the necessary paperwork and apply for their share of the reparations offered by the German government and other entities.
The Jewish Family Service of Dallas is facilitating reparations for local survivors and doing their part to make it a smooth process. "We have trained volunteers to help people fill out the forms and get them mailed in," says the coordinator of the Holocaust Survivor Assistance Program, Bunny Radman. "So far we have helped about 25 Holocaust survivors and are looking for more who might be eligible. There's no telling how many more are out there." And, for their convenience, "the forms are available in seven different languages."
People have been applying to the Claims Conference for this slave labor and forced labor reimbursement, says Radman. After more than 50 years of negotiations with Germany, Austria and other entities, the Claims Conference has - through the sale of unclaimed Jewish property in the former East Germany - allocated more than $400 million toward this reparation process.
Since 1995, these allocations have provided special benefits and services worldwide to elderly victims who suffered Nazi persecution. Efforts of the Claims Conference have already benefited hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors and continue to press for the inclusion of more. Their headquarters are in New York, with additional offices in Tel Aviv, Frankfurt and Vienna.
Ms. Radman believes that most of these individuals will receive $4,400.00 (equivalent to 10,000 deutschmarks). The money is coming from the German government and German industry, as well as some Swiss and German banks and some insurance policies. But, the other good news, she says, is that "the U.S. government has decided it will not be necessary to declare this money as income and they will not have to pay income tax on it."
According to the Claims Conference, a Holocaust survivor is considered to be any Jew who lived in Germany, Austria or any of the countries or territories occupied by the Nazis, and who emigrated after the following dates:
* Germany after 1933;
* Austria after march 1938;
* Czechoslovakia after October 1938;
* Poland after September 1939;
* Denmark, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and France after April/May 1940;
* Yugoslavia and Greece after April 1941;
* Bulgaria, Rumania and Hungary, as of April 1941 (when these governments enacted anti-Jewish measures upon the demands of the Nazi government);
* Occupied territories of the former Soviet Union after 1941.
But, says Radman, there are specific criteria for those making a claim for a deceased family member. She says that these families "can only claim under the forced labor (as opposed to slave labor) for a spouse who died after September 1999. An heir cannot otherwise make a claim for these funds."
Ms. Radman says she has only scratched the surface and wants to do more. "There are agencies involved around the country, but we can help people who don't live in Dallas or even the U.S. We try our best to help everyone get what they need."
Radman says she knows that most Holocaust survivors will have mixed emotions about receiving anything that will attempt to right the wrongs of that ugly part of our history. "There are some people who will not take a penny from the German government. And some people feel that it hardly makes up for the pain and suffering, but will take what they can get."
And she says she knows it can never change their lives. "It will never undo what was done to them. It is 50 years too late and far too little."
For more information contact Bunny Radman at Jewish Family Service (972) 437-9950 or visit
This story was published in the DallasJewishWeek
on: Thursday, September 6, 2001