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Late last week a civil discussion on I/P broke out.
My goofy self is tempted to say, That's the news; end of story!  But that's not the thought that motivated this diary and that I want to explore further.

Some sound proposals were presented for settling claims of both sides.  Several individuals commented on their personal situations in which family members had lost property and/but moved on with their lives in other places.  Part of the discussion involved assessment of why Palestinians had not "moved on with their lives;" whether neighboring Arab states should be blamed for failing to take in Palestinian refugees; that Jews who left German or Arab or Iranian lands-- ie. the individuals whose family members lost property/moved on --  should be compensated for their losses.

The comment, below the fold, culminated the exchange and is the springboard for this diary:

Yes! Or compensation paid for by the perpetrating country/current owners.  Same with Jews displaced from Arab countries, or Iran.
by Terra Mystica on Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 12:30:41 PM PDT
Recommended by: capelza, corvo, MBNYC, callmecassandra, Fire bad tree pretty

Terra Mystica had earlier responded to one individual's statement that his/her family had been forced to sell property in Germany at a loss, had done so, left Germany, moved to New Jersey and "moved on;" TM's reaction was:

"Being made whole" is such a universal moral and legal principlethat I have to ask why you don't/didn't subscribe to it in your own personal experience.  

Not that there's anything wrong (or right) with moving on, it's just that you seem to be the exception rather than the rule.  With respect, it seems like your decision to do so is a personal one, not easily extrapolated to be the basis for collective judgments.

Here's the point I'd like to add, that should have been attached to the relevant thread but it went out of date:  Compensation HAS been paid, by "perpetrating" countries, to tens of thousands of Jewish people. Does it make up for lives lost?  Surely, no, never.  But has the effort to express contrition and to "make whole" been made?  

Yes.

According to Josh Tapper, writing in The Tablet Magazine,  

The moral imperative to, essentially, force countries like Germany, Austria, Poland, and Hungary into a lifetime of apology led to the creation of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany  in 1952. Since then, Germany has provided nearly $60 billion to pay individual compensation as well as group social service programs.

Tapper included that fact in an article spotlighting the impoverished status of nearly 35,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors in New York City alone. Tapper's narrative revolved around the austere life of Helen Berkovitz, one of 38,053 impoverished Holocaust survivors living in New York City. Her plight -- their plight -- is repeated in numerous American cities and towns, but is even worse in Israel, according to a recent article in the Seattle Times:
Holocaust Survivors' Poverty is Israel's Dirty Little Secret

According to the Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Foundation, about 144,000 Holocaust survivors reside in the US.

The question begs to be asked: What became of $60 billion dollars?

Approach the question with some back-of-the-envelope calculations:

ASSUME that $60 billion was paid to the CJMCAG* in four equal installments, starting in 1953;
ASSUME that 1/58th of the fund was paid out annually to each of 144,000 survivors;
ASSUME that the remaining balance of the fund was invested and earning 4% interest per year.

My envelope suggest that in 1953 each survivor received about $1765.  In 1953, the national average wage in the US was $3139.44; the CJMCAG should have been able to provide to each Holocaust survivor 56% of the average national wage, and still have $14.7 billion left to start 1954.  

Skip forward to 1967, when a second installment of $15 billion would have been paid by the German state into the Jewish fund, to bring the fund total to just over $35 billion, and the average annual payout to each of 144,000 survivors would be $3,057, at a time when the average national wage was $5213.44; that is, the State of Germany paid reparations amounting to 59% of the average American wage, to each Holocaust survivor living in the US.

The third installment of what Josh Tapper characterized as "what the descendants of Holocaust perpetrators owe to survivors" would have been paid in about 1982, bringing the fund total to about $57 billion, and the average annual payout to each Holocaust survivor to just over $9600, 2/3 of the average national wage in the US at the time.

The fourth and final installment on the $60 billion reparations payments from Germany to US Holocaust survivors would bring the fund total to approx. $64.3 billion in 1997, to cover annual payouts of $23,519 to each Holocaust survivor, at a time when the average wage in the US was $27,426; that is, reparations paid by the German state to Jewish Holocaust survivors should have provided 86% of American national wage to each Holocaust survivor.

If the above protocol were followed until today, the fund managed by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany should be paying over $51,000 to each Holocaust survivor (close to or perhaps exceeding average national wage) and still have $ 7,648,847,230.86 in its treasury.

If all this is so, why was Helen Berkovitz compelled to apply for

Section 8, a subsidized housing program for low-income New Yorkers, only to be denied on the grounds her income from Social Security was too high. Seven months ago, her monthly food-stamp allotment of $57 was reduced to less than $15. After a $96.50 Medicare deduction, Berkovitz receives just over $1,300 each month, a sum that barely covers her needs, which include 24 pills a day. Berkovitz doesn’t fall below the 2010 federal poverty  line, but she lives a meager existence, absolutely dependent on the financial support of government programs and Jewish service organizations.

The individual who commented about his family's plight, and loss, and flight, and migration to the US and resettlement tells one brave and, in my observation and opinion, more usual pattern of how people who have been beset by terrible harms reassemble their lives.

As well, the "perpetrators" of the evil appear to have made reparations to the best of their ability, and have borne a generations-long burden of guilt and repentance, and,according to remarks made by Norman Finkelstein, have reformed their ways (at 4:19- )

The broken link in the chain of reclaiming and equalizing shattered lives is in the hands of administrators of the reparations funds to Holocaust survivors: the challenge is to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany: what have you done with the money?  

Is the CJMCAG in the same category as Arafat's PLO, exploiting Holocaust survivors for its own benefit?  

*Keep in mind that this sum represents reparations from only Germany; it does not include or consider any other sums or reparations paid to Holocaust survivors by other "perpetrators."

UPDATES:  for the record, links to further, recent discussion of Jewish agencies' receipt of reparations funds from "perpetrator" states, and complaints and adverse actions regarding disbursal of those funds.

Rich in PA claimed that the questions raised in the diary; namely, What happened to the money?  Why is Helen Berkovitz living in poverty? were "tendentious" and poorly researched.  So I did a little bit more research in an attempt to write the diary Rich in PA and Burrow Owl seemed to think I should have written.  I discovered that the topic -- missing funds and unaccountable management of funds that Germany has deposited with the Claims Conference -- is a hot potato that at least one journalist, Isi Leibler, has been tossing about on Jerusalem Post and in Jewish Weekly.  Several facts that came to light are that some $7 million dollars is known to be missing from the fund, that that sum may be just "the tip of the iceberg;" and that the German state may demand restitution of the purloined funds.

Scandal at the Claims Conference On Tuesday, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) will be holding its annual meeting in New York. Proceedings will be overshadowed by the recent exposure of a massive misappropriation of funds, which will be regarded as one of the ugliest Jewish organizational financial scandals in our time.

The New York-based Jewish Week recently made the shattering disclosure that the FBI was investigating fraudulent misappropriation of at least $7 million, possibly substantially more, over the past decade from the Article 2 Fund created in 1995 by the German government to provide quarterly pensions to eligible Holocaust survivors. The task of administering the payments had been delegated to the Claims Conference.

It had already been disclosed earlier in February that the Claims Conference had dismissed three employees, one of whom was the supervisor of the Hardship Fund. It appeared that $350,000 was involved and investigations into that fraud apparently led to the discovery of the far greater misappropriation from the pension fund. Had The Jewish Week not exposed the story, there is every likelihood that the public would not be aware of what had transpired.

One would have assumed that a scandal of this order involving restitution funds would have caused a major stir throughout the Jewish world. Yet there seems to have been little follow up or outrage. To make matters worse, Claims Conference executive vice president Gregory Schneider had the gall to inform The Jewish Week that "no Holocaust survivors" lost any money and that there had not been a failure in standard operating procedures.

The arrogance of Claims Conference leaders  
At the annual meeting of the Claims Conference in New York last week, there was discussion of my recent column concerning the fraudulent misappropriation of more than $7 million of Holocaust funds ("Scandal at the Claims Conference," July 13). While I was strongly criticized and accused of "ill intentions," not a single factual remark incorporated in my column could be refuted.

Indeed, additional information emerged, adding greater weight to my calls for reforming an organization which is controlled by a small group of people who in practice remain largely unaccountable.

There was a disingenuous attempt to infer that information concerning the misappropriated funds was suppressed in deference to a request from the FBI.

Yet, it was the New York-based Jewish Week which exposed the fraud and only subsequently did the Claims Conference furnish the details.

More importantly, it was disclosed that the fraud has been going on for more than 10 years and that the $7 million already identified related only to information obtained from computerization of records initiated in 2007. Claims Conference executive vice president Greg Schneider confirmed that additional funds had been stolen and treasurer Roman Kent added that $7 million was "only the tip of the iceberg." It was also suggested that the German government could hold the Claims Conference accountable for the missing funds.

Cry Gevalt Now! Arrogance of Claims Conference

  1.  One fourth of Holocaust Survivors in US living below poverty line

New York - $10 million Holocaust survivors' Emergency Fund Launched ‎

Survivor There are thousands of destitute Holocaust survivors living in the New York area

2007:Israel:  One third of Holocaust survivors live in poverty

  1.  Many Holocaust survivors living in poverty, report says

Los Angeles Community to Examine Plight of Poverty-Stricken Holocaust Survivors

  1.  Holocaust Survivors in Poverty

2010:Foundation gives $10 million to impoverished Holocaust survivors Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation grant to aid 10,000

Holocaust/Survivor Support/Israel/Poverty Facts, Figures and Statistics

The Holocaust was one of the most horrific events of the 20th century. The Jewish nation was haunted by the Nazis and paid a very valuable price - 6,000,000 Jewish lives. The holocaust ended in 1945 but the suffering is still fresh. 80,000 of the 260,000 Holocaust survivors in Israel are living under the poverty line, according to the Holocaust Survivors’ Welfare Fund, Ynetnews reported. That is almost a third of all Holocaust survivors in Israel. One-third of the Israel's holocaust survivors live in poverty, with little or no help and support. It seems that Israel remembers the Holocaust, but tends to forget its survivors. According to 2007 publications, some survivors in Israel get a monthly payment of about $600 from the German government. Others receive from the government an amount of $300 to 1000$ a month. And some of the survivors, who immigrated to Israel after 1953, receive nothing more than the national retirement allowance. Another important point is that the amount of money given to the survivors is decided by the authorities and it depends on the economic situation, family status and etc; and it sometimes added other benifits (such as returning money for medical expenses). Sometimes the money given by the government isn't enough to pay for basic necessities – not enough for an appropriate and stable living. It is important to mention that Israel officially sets the poverty line at an income of $500 a month which makes the holocaust survivors to continue struggling with life. One of the survivors' main difficulties stems from their poor access to information regarding their rights. At 2007, the law called for the establishment of an umbrella organization that would handle the assistance to survivors, but due to the delay in the transfer of funds, this plan remained on paper and the poverty issue again was left behind. It seems that still there isn't enough intent and maybe even preparedness to the situation in which the Holocaust survivors are in for more than 60 years! As long as Israel will not take the survivor’s poverty issue as one of the most important problems at the country, nothing would be changed and these people, which suffered enough at the Holocaust, will continue suffering and will die humiliated.

   * (1$ = about 4 shekels)

Why do they need financial support ?

They survived the holocaust and arrived to Israel ready for new and better life. As it was already mentioned, many of them live under the poverty line, hoping to get that financial support they desperately need. Why do holocaust survivors need financial support from the government- is the main question which can explain us how important is this support for the survivors.

The first and the most important reason is the Holocaust. We all have to take into consideration, that all those people, which survived this tragedy, came to Israel without anything. People who before the Second World War had money, homes and property- remained without anything after the war. For any immigrant it is difficult to start a new life in a new country, but for the Holocaust survivors it was even harder. Most of them came to Israel alone- without families (because a huge number of people were killed and a lot of families were separated at the war). These survivors had not only to overcome over their trauma, but also try to live somehow without any property. Financial support from the government is the minimal help that the country can give these people, who without any normal reason, had lost everything- home, money and of course family. This support can help not only to these people, who are now very old and can’t work to finance themselves, but also show them that people remember and know that they have to receive a special treatment more than anybody else. The duty of Israel's government is to provide holocaust survivors the most convenient and optimal conditions in the everyday life (especially after what they had to go through). A unique emphasis needs to be put on the poverty issue among the holocaust survivors – the government shouldn't save up on them. "They have earned the right to get the minimum, to live a normal life and end their lives in an honorable way." (http://povertynewsblog.blogspot.com/2006/04/israel-many-israeli-holocaust.html).

The relatives are the main source of support. One of the manifestations of old age is the loss of close relatives, and principally widowhood. Over 40% of the survivors are single and most are widowed. There is a great difference in the family status of men and women: about a fifth (21%) of the men are single, as opposed to over half the women (56%). Furthermore, about a quarter of all the survivors live alone. The percentage of women living alone (32%) is 2.5 times greater than that of men (13%). Most of the Holocaust survivors have children. However, a considerable number of the survivors (19%) have no children, or children whom they see less than once a month. We must remember that some ot the Holocaust survivors came to Israel without families and not many of them could build a new family (many women who had survived, couldn’t have kids, because of the deep damages they suffered at the Holocaust). Because of that, they don’t have at present anybody who can support them financially. It can be said that a considerable percentage of the survivors cannot rely on assistance from relatives when required, and that is why the governments support is so important.

Another reason the survivors need the financial support is because of medical necessities. Statistics show that 70 percent of the holocaust survivors are older than 76, and 20 percent of them are older than 86. At those ages health isn't stabilized and health problems are constantly attacking people. Some of them are disabled; others have chronic problems, dental issues, hearing or visual problems, trouble with sleeping and so on. Many of them suffer from severe mental and medical problems due to the hardships and torture they experienced during the Second World War. The older they get the more medical problems and medical expenses they would have. Using medical treatments is supposed to support the human body, to fix the defects it has and to insure the person a healthier and sometimes even a longer life. All kinds of medications together with treatments and doctors' visits cost money. Those expenses can cost the person up to hundreds of shekels a month, which equals a great percentage of the total month expenses. It's important to remember that together with the medical costs, holocaust survivors also need to have money to pay for bills, food, clothes and other important stuff. In addition, 50,000 to 60,000 survivors are in need of nursing care-something which either costs the survivors money or the government. So if they don't get the government's financial support they would have to give up on one of the basic things they need to have. If the holocaust survivors don't get the medicine and medical devices necessary for them, they might have to go through a lot of pain and suffer and maybe even death would be the one to defeat them. "Israel has always been busy remembering the dead but forgetting the living," said Zeev Feiner, a spokesman for the welfare fund. (http://povertynewsblog.blogspot.com/2006/04/israel-many-israeli-holocaust.html) The Holocaust Survivors' Welfare Fund assists only about 30,000 survivors due to budget issues, although twice that number need care and financial support.

Many Israeli Holocaust Survivors Live in Poverty . . . many of the survivors now living below the poverty line had migrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union in the 1990s.

Many, he said, were not eligible for any compensation from abroad or from Israel because of technicalities, increasing the hardships they faced.

Holocaust survivors make up around 40 percent of Israelis above the age of 60.

  1.  

Haaretz:  Holocaust restitution fund spends NIS 30m of survivors' money on itself The Company for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims Assets has burned through an operating budget of NIS 30 million in less than two years, but it is refusing to say just how much it has managed to turn over to victims and their heirs.

The company was established by a law passed in December 2005, to locate and distribute assets in Israel belonging to Holocaust victims, survivors and their heirs. Some of the assets were to be distributed directly to needy survivors and survivor welfare organizations, on the assumption that only some of the owners and heirs would be found.

As of the end of June, the company had located about NIS 750 million in assets. Meanwhile, in under two years it managed to burn through more than NIS 30 million. Most of the budget came from assets the company held in trust for their owners, with the treasury contributing a small amount.

Increasingly, members of the blogosphere are raising questions about the US-Israel relationship.  This comment encapsulates one direction these questions are taking:  

 And that is why conversations about lobbies, and money, and undue influence, and mayhem committed in our name are important – and the heck with those artificial, politically motivated red lines, and delicate feelings. This is really about life and death for the Palestinians and the peril to all of our souls, Jewish and not. Compared to what’s at stake, the quibbles about how far what blog is willing to go when is just petty stuff.

The Israel lobby in the US has more money than God and Gates.  US foreign policy is heavily influenced by that money. Is some of it, any of it, being diverted from funds that were to be paid to Jewish Holocaust survivors?

As well,

J Street has called for an investigation into American charities that fund Israeli settlement activity

J Street, the self-proclaimed political home for "pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans," launched a campaign Monday calling on the U.S. Treasury Department to look into whether organizations named in a July 6 New York Times report have broken the law.

The report identified more than 40 U.S. organizations that have collected over $200 million in tax-deductible gifts for schools, synagogues and recreation centers in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.  

Is there a relationship between these situations; do these dots connect?  I don't know, I'm not Eliot Spitzer or Eric Holder.  

What I do know is that large amounts of money are being used to sway US congressional and foreign policy decisions and actions, and that Israel partisans deploy a great deal of that influence, and money.

Where does it come from?

Originally posted to PhoenixAshram on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 04:44 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  One immediate thing that comes to mind (0+ / 0-)

    Today's Holocaust survivors are very old.  They're therefore more likely to outlive their investments, including whatever they may have received in lump-sum compensation.  I know in your diary you talk about annual payouts, but does it really work that way or you're just giving those numbers for illustration purposes? (i.e. what the billions could do)

    The most impressive thing about man [...] is the fact that he has invented the concept of that which does not exist--Glenn Gould

    by Rich in PA on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 04:56:19 PM PDT

    •  I have no information re how reparations (0+ / 0-)

      were paid IN or how they were paid out.  I tried to make some very conservative assumptions.  

      The assumptions as well as the calculations are yours to attack, refute, argue with. I would be happy to be proved way off base . . .

      •  I think one of the bad things we see nowadays... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        burrow owl

        ...is people raising questions, in an insinuating way, but declining to do any research on their own.  That kind of thing should be left to conservatives.

        The most impressive thing about man [...] is the fact that he has invented the concept of that which does not exist--Glenn Gould

        by Rich in PA on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 05:03:39 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think the questions I asked are fair (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          adrianrf

          I think they are fair questions to ask -- where did $60 billion go, why is Helen Berkovitz and 38,000 ++ like living in poverty?

          I also think I presented enough material and did enough "research" to support the questions.

          If you think more research should be done, feel free to do so.

          •  If it's an important question, (0+ / 0-)

            surely it's important enough that you should put minimal time into finding some answers.

            •  something I heard a rabbi say comes to mind: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              adrianrf

              "Lord, how should we solve this problem; why didn't you DO something??"

              quoth the Lord:  "I sent YOU."

              I don't quite understand your complaint that I didn't "put minimal time to finding answers;" my goal was to raise the questions.

              What answers would you give to the questions?  Do you think the questions are important enough to merit your research into some answers?

              •  I think that's a very tendentious route (0+ / 0-)

                It's fair to "raise questions" when they're questions of interpretation, or empirical questions whose answers are hidden or obscure.  In this case, I'm completely certain that there is ample and accessible documentation about everything you're asking.  

                The most impressive thing about man [...] is the fact that he has invented the concept of that which does not exist--Glenn Gould

                by Rich in PA on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 05:33:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  channeling Liza Doolittle: (0+ / 0-)

                  Don't talk of stars Burning above; If you're in love,
                  Show me! Tell me no dreams
                  Filled with desire. If you're on fire,
                  Show me! Here we are together in the middle of the night!
                  Don't talk of spring! Just hold me tight!
                  Anyone who's ever been in love'll tell you that
                  This is no time for a chat! Haven't your lips
                  Longed for my touch? Don't say how much,
                  Show me! Show me! Don't talk of love lasting through time.
                  Make me no undying vow. Show me now!

                  you're complaining about the diary I didn't write!

  •  Our daughters Nana received money from this fund (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl

    since she was a Holocaust survivar.  She's lived a modest, but comfortable life in Newton Ma, where she bought a small multi-family dwelling.  

    She's supplamented her basic compensation, with money earned from baby-sitting, and recieved help from her three sons, who are all doctors.

    I'm confused about the complicated situation described by the diary.  Is Israel proposing that it establish the same kind of fund for Palestinian's who lost their lands during the createion of Israel?

    That would probably be a good idea, but would need a vastly larger fund.  While you say there were 30,000 some Holocaust survivors, I think they may have been 4,000,0000 if not several millions of Palestinian refugees, who have now even had grand-children in 'refugee-ship"  

    I can imagine how this might be viewed as a controvesial proposal.  

    This would be a significant chunk of the entire Israeli GNP each year.  Maybe fair from some justice based points-of-view, but, perhaps, political challenging.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 05:14:41 PM PDT

    •  I'm not aware that Israel is proposing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog

      anything like this.  The references I made in the diary were to proposals made in comments to an earlier diary.  

      But you make a very important point:   given that reparations were paid to Jewish survivors of Holocaust by the "perpetrators," in a just world, is Israel similarly obligated to pay reparations to Palestinians?  

      The vast amounts involved should not be the determinant of justice, imo.  

      •  I agree. Claims should be analyzed and filed (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PhoenixAshram

        based on reality and justice.  Then when we notice it way too large an amount for Israel to pay, then we can discuss how this reality should be dealt with.

        Other countries, uncluding the US, and the Britan.

        The British were the original colonial occupier.

        These issues should have been dealt with in the original 1947 UN Resolution, and earlier documents such as Balfar.

        A stitch in time, would have saved a lot more than nine, in this case.

        But, what can we do know, but learn how lessons, pick up these pieces, and try to collectively find the best ways forward.  At least, best for those willing to participate cooperatively in creating the solution.

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 05:32:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  useful approach, HoundDog: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HoundDog

          "when we notice it way too large an amount . . ." that is, "when parties are confronted with reality."

          That hasn't happened.

          •  I agree. We need to have some collective, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PhoenixAshram

            wide-spread explorations into what are the realities were are confronted with.

            And what may surprise some, is we will discover we don't have a sufficient common set of realities here, to really have such a discussion easily or properly.

            This is one of the main think we need to start working harder and faster on, if we want there to be a minimumly adequate viable avenue forward for a non-violent solution for this terrible situation.

            The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

            by HoundDog on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 05:40:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  You did a lot of work on this. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhoenixAshram

    Good on you.

    "Turning this country around [will] take years of siege warfare against deeply entrenched interests, defending a deeply dysfunctional political system." -PK

    by adrianrf on Mon Aug 30, 2010 at 10:47:44 PM PDT

  •  I think this diary is about my comment (0+ / 0-)

    In which I mentioned that my parents were forced out of Germany but that they received no reparations, and that I'm not sure that they should.

    A few things:  First, I'm not sure your math is right.  My parents and their parents are not, technically, holocaust survivors.  My mother escaped with her family in September, 1938 with her family at the age of 18.  At one point, she had been arrested by the Gestapo, but they let her go.  My father was beaten up on Kristallnacht in Frankfurt (Nov., '38), and didn't get out until May, '39.  Securing the right paperwork to get out was hard; many couldn't and perished.  My aunt emigrated to Guatemala, but eventually came to the US.  We all live in Jersey, which I consider to be my home.  Anyway, they are not "survivors", even though they lost everything.  They get no compensation.  My father receives social security from Germany, but that's just because he contributed to the system before he left.  Both of my parents families were pretty well off.  My mother's family ran (and lost) a lamp factory.  Both families owned houses.

    Second, compensation is nice, but it doesn't address what was taken away.  We have no idea what happened to my great grandparents, other than that they died.  This is a sad fact about compensation.  Perhaps you could calculate the loss of real property, but what about the loss of career?  My Grandfather was a noted bio-chemist who worked with Paul Ehrlich.  What about non-Jewish victims whose lives were destroyed or at least altered?

    The US welcomed my family, sort of.  When my parents bought their house in 1953 in NJ, there were many towns that had SIGNS up that said, "No Jews or Coloreds".  That was legal then.  They moved to Paramus, which was mostly farmland, but is now closer to a giant shopping mall.  It's a far cry from a large apartment in downtown Berlin, but, hey, it's a home.

    Anyway, with luck and work, they built lives, raised kids, and are in their 90's.  The Germans who beat up my father on Kristallnacht probably died on the Eastern front.  So it's the bottom of the 9th on the scorecard of life, and who's winning?  I am absolutely thrilled that my parents moved on, and didn't worry about compensation, repatriation, or the loss of their homeland.  

     

    Hill? What hill? No one said there was going to be a hill . . . . Was there a sign?

    by Jersey Jon on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 08:41:17 AM PDT

  •  And one more thing; you deserve a donut for (4+ / 0-)

    this speculative and anti-semitic crap:

    The Israel lobby in the US has more money than God and Gates.  US foreign policy is heavily influenced by that money. Is some of it, any of it, being diverted from funds that were to be paid to Jewish Holocaust survivors?

    Two falsehoods followed by an admittedly unsubstantiated conspiracy theory all in an effort to effectively blame the victims in a manner that follows well-worn path suggesting that sneaky Jews control everything.  Eww.  

    And this additional crap:

    What I do know is that large amounts of money are being used to sway US congressional and foreign policy decisions and actions, and that Israel partisans deploy a great deal of that influence, and money.

    Where does it come from?

    Hill? What hill? No one said there was going to be a hill . . . . Was there a sign?

    by Jersey Jon on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 08:55:41 AM PDT

    •  I don't see falsehoods, Jersey Jon (0+ / 0-)

      AIPAC and Israel advocates in the US do control a great deal of wealth; the "god and gates" was a rhetorical flourish, perhaps inadvisable but definitely neither provable nor falsifiable, inasmuch no one knows where god keeps does his banking.

      It's naive to pretend that Israel's advocates in the US do not have a great deal of influence over US foreign policy decisions made by US State Department, US Treasury, and the US Congress.  Persons who have expressed a predilection for Israel's concerns sit in positions of critical influence at the right hand of the POTUS.  
      Please don't insult your own and my intelligence by suggesting otherwise.

      I did not in any way wish to cast aspersions on your family and the difficult transition it was forced to make; quite the contrary:  you should be proud of their resilience and character.  In that, you and your family are not alone:  members of my family lost at least three lives to war, and were forced to abandon a business, home, property, careers and dreams as a result of the war in Europe, and my life and my children's lives were impacted by that chain of events and the Nana we never knew. Your statement that your family "moved on" resonated because my family did the same.  And no, they did not receive restitution or compensation or the "equalization" that Terra Mystica mentioned is a crucial element of justice.  Sometimes justice is elusive.

  •  HR'd (4+ / 0-)

    First of all, you discuss this 60 billion dollar figure (which is actually euros, so about $88 billion) and then seem to apply it to American Jewish survivors of which you quote a number of 144,000 and wonder "where did [all that money] go?"

    Yes there has been some fraud.  That happens any time there is money being doled out whether it is a large court settlement or a restitution issue.  It is my understanding that the fraud allegations have been or are being investigated, as they should be, and will be prosecuted, as they should be.

    Looted Jewish assets from WWII have been valued, in today's $$, as between $143 and $215 billion.

    Only 9% of Holocaust survivors in the States receive direct restitution funds.  Social service organizations in 50 U.S. communities receive money from the fund.

    There are separate funds from the Swiss Bank Looted Assets settlement and the Hungarian Gold Train settlement on behalf of the US District Court.

    The rest of that is spread out through 43 different countries.

    There are very specific requirements for Article 2 eligibility.  So the 144,000 number does not necessarily mean 144,000 people eligible for funds.

    • Six months or more of imprisonment in a concentration camp as defined in accordance with the Federal Indemnification Law (BEG), or in a forced labor camp for Jews according to the list of places of imprisonment of the International Tracing Service of the Red Cross

    • At least six months of incarceration in special camps in Austria for Jews; incarceration in forced labor camps on the Austro-Hungarian border or the copper mines at Bor; or service in forced military labor battalions for Hungarian Jews on the Ukrainian front

    • At least six month of incarceration in certain camps and/or working battalions in Romania (under restricted criteria), in certain camps in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the former Yugoslavia, Libya, Somovit in Bulgaria and Ferramonti di Tarsia in Italy

    • Eighteen months or more of imprisonment in a ghetto as defined in accordance with the BEG

    • At least 18 months of life in hiding under inhumane conditions with no contact to the outside world
    or
    • At least 18 months of life under an assumed identity if the person was under 18 years when persecution began and separated from his or her family

    • That the applicant has been awarded less than DM 35,000 in previous compensation; and

    • That the applicant lives under particular financial need. Current income limits in the United States are $16,000 and $21,000 annual income for single and married persons, respectively. In the case of two applicants who are spouses living in a common household, the income limit is $31,500. Social security payments are excluded as counting toward income for persons age 70 and older who meet all other fund criteria.

    Persons who were, at the beginning of or during persecution, citizens of some Western countries — except Germany — are not eligible. Persons who currently reside in the former Communist countries are eligible for the Central and Eastern European Fund rather than Article 2.

    According to Germany's Finance Ministry it breaks down thusly:

    Compensation paid by the
    Federal Republic of Germany
    to victims of the Nazi regime                      € bn

    Final Federal Compensation Law               44.54

    Retrospective payments for
    hardship cases                                          2.78

    Compensation for stolen property               2.02

    Payments made to the state of Israel          1.53

    Special funds of Germany's
    federal states for individual cases               1.53

    Payments made to other countries              1.46

    Miscellaneous payments                             6.80

    The "Remembrance, Responsibility
    and Future" Foundation (payments
    to former forced laborers)                          2.56

    TOTAL                                                   63.22

    For you to tie those numbers to some weird ass conspiracy about Jewish lobbies

    The Israel lobby in the US has more money than God and Gates.  US foreign policy is heavily influenced by that money. Is some of it, any of it, being diverted from funds that were to be paid to Jewish Holocaust survivors?

    takes some kind of fucking chutzpah, I gotta tell you.

    Brevity is the soul of lingerie. - Dorothy Parker

    by arielle on Tue Aug 31, 2010 at 11:36:00 AM PDT

    •  well then chalk it up to (0+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:
      hikerbiker

      fucking chutzpah, I guess.

      The main point is, Germany DID pay reparations; the next point is, Holocaust survivors in the US are living in poverty.  

      When do Germans get to move on with their lives and stop being perpetually reminded of their evilness?

      And can you apply the same accounting to HoundDog's comment:  Are Palestinians entitled to compensation for the destruction of their lives and property?  Jews endured terrible things in Germany; the terror for Jews in Germany went on for over 10 years.  As Jersey Jon noted, his family members lost promising careers, businesses, property.  Do you imagine that over the last 60 years -- 6 times the time of Jewish suffering in Europe -- no Palestinian was forced to sacrifice a promising career, a business, a home, or the lives of grandparents, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, mothers, fathers?  Are Palestinians entitled to the same level of compensation for the lives and careers and dreams that were taken from them by Israeli terror organizations like Irgun, and later, aided and abetted by US cash flows to Israel, which cash flows were made possible by the most organized and well-oiled lobbying machine in US history?  

      Is Israel gearing up to actually PAY the compensation that Palestinians are just as much entitled to as Jews were entitled to from Germany (as well as the other countries you listed)?  Germany paid the money; will Israel do the same?

      A lobby like AIPAC and its affiliated groups does not run on air or donut holes or even chutzpah, it runs on money and lots of it.

      No rational person can look critically at things like US Congress votes that result in actual harm to US interests, but that are so lopsided that they can only be explained by mass corruption, and not attempt to figure out cui bono, not attempt to follow the money, not try to connect the dots.  (Dots -- that's what they call the inside part of a donut, right? Thanks for the dot.)

    •  I did NOT say "Jewish" lobbies, but ISRAELlobbies (0+ / 0-)

      Israel is a political entity.  It pursues its interest through political means and agencies. To the extent those political agencies impact on American policy decisions and impact use of US taxpayers, I and every other taxpayer has a right and an obligation to call attention to those actions we disagree with and demand an accounting.

      your 'fucking chutzpah' comment says more about your own inadequacies than this diarist.

      •  And connected it to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mets102

        Holocaust restitution.

        AIPAC is an American institution.  It is run by Americans.  It receives donations from Americans.

        Brevity is the soul of lingerie. - Dorothy Parker

        by arielle on Wed Sep 01, 2010 at 01:03:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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