By Orly Vilnai, Haaretz Correspondent
Tags: Jewish world, Holocaust

The Finance Ministry has sent letters to thousands of Holocaust survivors in recent weeks, threatening to cut off their survivor benefits if they do not sign and return a form enclosed with the letter. The form gives the treasury irrevocable power of attorney to withdraw any funds from the survivors’ bank accounts which the Finance Ministry payments department believes were paid to the survivors in error.

The Finance Ministry form requires approval from the survivor’s bank and states that failure to return the form by August 31 will result in the suspension of benefit payments. Some of the survivors who received this form were reportedly very distressed by the request. Some agreed to speak only if their names were not published, out of concern for repercussions from the treasury. “My body is already weak,” said one survivor ill with cancer, “but my head still works a little, and my hand refuses to sign.”