Category Archive: Restitution

Amsterdam earmarks $1.18m as compensation for Holocaust victims

(JTA) — The City of Amsterdam earmarked $1.18 million from its budget to pay back fines it unjustly collected from Holocaust survivors.

The allocation, which Mayor Eberhard van der Laan announced Thursday, is for fines that the city had imposed on hundreds of Jewish Holocaust survivors for properties they owned but for which they had failed to pay ground lease fees after the German army invaded the Netherlands in 1940, the Het Parool daily reported.

The money is to be transferred to a fund the city will set up in the near future to handle reimbursement claims by survivors or their descendants.

The city also intends to transfer to the same fund the equivalent of the actual ground lease fees unjustly levied from Jews when they were in hiding from the German occupation forces or in concentration camps, Het Parool reported.

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In Berlin, giving wronged Olympians their glory

SEEKING KIN
By Hillel KuttlerApril 14, 2014 10:07am

BALTIMORE (JTA) – Nancy Glickman was a teenager when she heard the story about her father at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin: Marty Glickman and another Jewish sprinter, Sam Stoller, were replaced as members of the 400-meter relay team for the U.S. squad on the morning of the event.

American sprinters Marty Glickman, left, and Sam Stoller, at sea traveling to the 1936 Olympics, were prevented from competing at the games in Berlin but will be posthumously honored at the 2015 European Maccabi Games there. (Courtesy Nancy Glickman)

American sprinters Marty Glickman, left, and Sam Stoller, at sea traveling to the 1936 Olympics, were prevented from competing at the games in Berlin but will be posthumously honored at the 2015 European Maccabi Games there. (Courtesy Nancy Glickman)

Asking her father about the slight one night, he pulled out his uniform from the bottom drawer of a large dresser to display it. Right there, Nancy Glickman requested the item be bequeathed to her when he died.

Marty Glickman, “well before” his death at 83 in 2001, gave her the uniform, Nancy Glickman said, and she stores it in a duffel bag in her Washington, D.C., apartment.

“I’m the keeper of the uniform,” she said.

Maccabi USA, the Philadelphia-based branch of the Maccabi World Union sports federation, is hoping members of the Glickman and Stoller families will go to Berlin in July 2015 when the European Maccabi Games are held in the German capital and the memories of the two track stars are honored.

It will be the first time Berlin hosts the games, which started in 1929.

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Holocaust restitution body could close

Senior Citizens Minister Orbach “failed to earmark further budget for Project HEART, which will therefore be forced to fold,” source says.

Senior Citizens Minister Uri Orbach at the weekly cabinet meeting, October 20, 2013. Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post

Senior Citizens Minister Uri Orbach at the weekly cabinet meeting, October 20, 2013. Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post

Project HEART, a government initiative cataloging Jewish assets stolen during the Holocaust, may have to shut down operations in May due to the failure to earmark funds for its continued operations, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Senior Citizens Minister Uri Orbach “failed to earmark further budget for Project HEART, which will therefore be forced to fold in May,” a source familiar with the matter told the Post.

HEART, which stands for Holocaust Era Asset Restitution Taskforce, began operations following a government decision to involve itself in the issue of restitution.

HEART does not involve itself with restitution negotiations with Austria and Germany – the domain of the Conference of Material Claims Against Germany, a New York-based organization that has been providing restitution and support to Holocaust survivors and their heirs since the early 1950s. Rather, HEART compiles claims relating to assets stolen, confiscated or looted throughout the rest of Europe.

Last August, Project HEART executive director Bobby Brown told the Post that the body was facing a budget shortfall and would have to curtail some of its activities should it fail to receive further funds.

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Biden aids Holocaust survivors

Society as a whole, including much of the organized Jewish community in the United States, has failed to adequately step forward to meet the needs of survivors who go hungry, or are cold.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife visit Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem
For decades now, the plight of thousands upon thousands of Holocaust survivors throughout the world has been getting worse and worse.

Fully recognizing the moral imperative of not abandoning these victims of Nazi persecution, US Vice President Joe Biden has announced a new multi-pronged initiative of the Obama administration to address the pressing contemporary medical and social needs of the men and women who were mercilessly persecuted by Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich and its accomplices.

More than 68 years after Allied troops liberated the German death and concentration camps in which millions of European Jews had been ruthlessly murdered, many of those who miraculously survived live precariously, in dire circumstances.
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Berman: Claims Conference staff unaware of fraud

Claims Conference chairman Julius Berman continued to deny having any knowledge of fraud being conducted within his organization prior to 2009 – only hours before JTA reported on Wednesday that he and other senior executives had launched a probe into the matter in 2001.
According to documents obtained by JTA, Berman’s law firm, Kaye Scholer LLP, launched a 2001 probe that failed to expose the ongoing theft on the orders of Berman and then-executive vice president Gideon Taylor. Speaking during an exclusive interview with The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday morning, Berman said that “neither the board nor the chairman of the board, nor anybody around the board, including the senior staff, was aware of it in 2009.”
He also praised the Claims Conference for how it handled the matter of the fraud once it was exposed, saying the US Attorney’s Office “went out of the way, which was unusual for the US Attorney, to thank us for our cooperation.”
Berman’s statement is consistent with the conference’s official narrative, in which Karl Brozik, then the organization’s director in Germany, led an investigation into allegations that New York-based conference employee Semyon Domnitser had approved five fraudulent restitution claims. Brozik subsequently closed the investigation.
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Claims Conference Chief Knew of $57M Holocaust Fraud Probe Earlier

Contrary to his earlier claims, one of American Jewry’s most prominent leaders was warned about a serious Holocaust compensation scam more than eight years before the fraud became public.
Julius Berman, who is chairman of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, then directed his own inquiry into the fraud allegations but failed to act on the fraud taking place. He also kept news about the allegations and his actions from his fellow board members at the Claims Conference, where the fraud was occurring.
Documents obtained by the Forward show that Berman, the Claims Conference’s top lay leader, personally directed an early investigation into the fraud at the organization, which processes restitution claims for Holocaust survivors. The fraud ultimately netted its participants $57 million in German government funds meant for needy survivors.
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EXCLUSIVE: Top Claims Conference officials carried out own botched probe of 2001 fraud

A document obtained by JTA shows that top officials of the Claims Conference were sufficiently concerned by allegations of fraudulent restitution claims that they launched their own probe in 2001, nearly eight years before the $57 million scheme was finally detected.
The Claims Conference has said in recent days that failure to heed early warnings of the fraud lies with a now-dead regional director. But the new document shows that two senior officials — the organization’s chief professional at the time, Gideon Taylor, and its counsel, Julius Berman — conducted their own investigation, which failed to uncover the extent of the scheme.
The probe resulted in an eight-page report that raised questions about the handling of several fraudulent cases by Semen Domnitser, a Claims Conference employee who was found guilty on May 8 of orchestrating the $57 million scheme.
The revelation of the report leaves unanswered the question of whether Claims Conference leaders showed gross negligence in failing to detect that Domnitser was orchestrating a widespread fraud, as some critics contend, or whether Domnitser, who was questioned in the two 2001 probes, was such a shrewd operator that Claims Conference officials couldn’t help but be fooled.
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Claims Conference Plans To Respond on Botched Probe Into $57M Holocaust Fraud

Amid calls that the Claims Conference bungled a warning in 2001 about fraud within the organization, conference leaders appointed a committee to “formulate an appropriate course of action.”
The move, announced by board chairman Julius Berman in an email to board members on Sunday, followed an announcement by the World Jewish Congress that it was setting up its own task force to look into allegations of a cover-up by the Claims Conference.
The allegations concern the Forward’s revelation that an anonymous letter sent to the Claims Conference’s Frankfurt office in 2001 that identified five cases in which restitution was approved for ineligible claimants. The letter reached the organization’s then-director in Germany, Karl Brozik, who queried Semen Domnitser, the official in New York who approved the cases and who was found guilty two weeks ago of spearheading the $57 million fraud scheme that run unimpeded at the Claims Conference from 1993 to 2009.
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