In 2015, The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) will allocate just over $2 million to the Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland (JFSA) more than double the amount it received for 2014, with most of the increase earmarked for homecare, the top social welfare priority for survivors. The increase in funding will continue to support those survivors already receiving homecare assistance, as well as survivors who find themselves in need, for the first time, of homecare help. For two decades, the Claims Conference has funded vital services to aid Holocaust victims in the Cleveland area, due to its success in obtaining restitution-related funding from a number of sources. Additional funding toward these services is provided by the Jewish Federation of Cleveland.
Social services funded by the Claims Conference are available to eligible survivors. Requests for services will be approved through a comprehensive review process facilitated by a committee including JFSA professional staff.
Homecare funded by these allocations encompasses a wide variety of services, enabling survivors to remain living in their own homes, in familiar surroundings, affording them a sense of safety, security, comfort and community. Some survivors need assistance such as home cleaning and cooking, while others, more infirm, require help with the basic activities of daily living, such as dressing and hygiene. JFSA is the designated Cleveland-area grantee of the Claims Conference to which funds are directed to pay for these services to eligible survivors. No funds will be paid directly to survivors for these services.
“All Shoah victims should be able to receive the help and support that they need to live their lives in dignity, after having endured indescribable suffering in their youth,” said Claims Conference President Julius Berman. “This tremendous increase in funding will directly help many survivors, including those who need more help at home than they currently receive as well as those needing care for the first time. Abandoned by the world in their youths, Holocaust victims deserve all the aid and comfort that it is possible to give them in the twilight of their lives.” The increase stems from Claims Conference negotiations with Germany, where support for homecare has been an urgent priority for more than a decade. With this substantial increase in allocations, the Claims Conference will be able to provide more help for the essential and special needs of Holocaust victims, which continue to increase as they age.
In 2015, total Claims Conference allocations to social service organizations around the world will total $365 million, a 21 percent increase over the 2014 amount, and will aid Holocaust victims in 47 countries. The allocations derive from German government funding, proceeds from recovering Jewish properties in the former East Germany, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, the Austrian government and the Swiss Banks Settlement. With this substantial increase in allocations, the Claims Conference will be able to provide more help for the urgent, essential and special needs of Holocaust victims.
“We are very appreciative of the extraordinary due diligence the Claims Conference applies to its work. Their efforts have yielded hundreds of millions to benefit the special needs of Holocaust survivors living among us and throughout the Jewish world. The latest achievement means we will be in a better position to serve this population moving forward,” Stephen H. Hoffman, Jewish Federation of Cleveland President.
Ironically, while the number of Jewish victims of Nazism dwindles every year, the day-to-day needs of the aging and ever frailer victims continue to increase. In 2013, the Claims Conference brought this message to its annual negotiations with the German government. The resulting agreement yielded a landmark $1 billion sum to be allocated by the Claims Conference through 2017. Allocation of these funds to local communities has not yet been determined. “This agreement was finalized in 2013, a time of budget austerity in Germany, making it all the more significant,” said Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, Claims Conference Special Negotiator. “We thank Germany for recognizing and continuing to address its historic obligation to Holocaust victims.”
Sheri Sax, JFSA Executive Director, JFSA Older Adult Services, advises “If survivors don’t feel they need help with homecare support right now, JFSA can still help survivors apply for compensation through the Claims Conference. Our staff can meet with a survivor and help them complete all the necessary paperwork to access these funds, free of charge.”
“In Cleveland, there are over 1,000 survivors known to JFSA, many of whom have benefited from these types of services,” says Sax. “We want every survivor living in Cleveland to access the funds for which they are eligible and we are here to help make that happen. But we also want people to understand that this is a comprehensive process with details that still needs to be finalized. Once eligibility details and program are confirmed, our staff will be available to answer questions and help survivors access the support they need.”
For more information, contact Jillian Spencer at JFSA at 216.378.3438