Heirs deserve reimbursement even at expense of other Holocaust survivors; chairman says issue can be raised at board meeting.
By 1994, the German government had given €260,000 to The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, better known as the Claims Conference, for property in Leipzig which used to belong to a local Jewish businessman as part of its compensation for unclaimed Jewish assets in East Germany.But complicated moral and legal issues over how to use restitution money to best serve Holocaust survivors may mean the heir of the Leipzig businessman, as well as many other claimants of Jewish property, won’t see any of it.
Zita Ben-Tal – who escaped Germany to the UK as a child just before World War II broke out – is not entitled to the money because she learned of the estate her grandfather left in Leipzig only in 2009, about five years after a deadline that permitted heirs to seek compensation.The Claims Conference became sole custodian of the revenue raised from the sale of the property when the deadline passed in 2004 and maintains reconsidering compensation for heirs of unclaimed property in East Germany may jeopardize the payments it provides to needy survivors.