Aid for Holocaust survivors doubled for 2015

December 15, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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Elderly Jewish Holocaust victims in Australia, the last of their generation to have endured the horrors of the Nazi genocide, will receive significantly more aid in 2015, announced Julius Berman, President of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference).

claims-logo-290 In 2015, total Claims Conference allocations to three social service agencies in Australia will be USD $10.7 million, more than double the amount for 2014, with most of the increase earmarked for homecare, the top social welfare priority for these survivors.

The Claims Conference is the only organization assisting Holocaust survivors worldwide by supporting homecare and other vital services specifically for Nazi victims.

“Shoah victims should be able to receive the help and support that they need to live the rest of 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.”

Robert Goot

Robert Goot

“The Claims Conference is proud to partner with Australian organizations to give all the care possible to the many Holocaust survivors who have made Australia their home,” said Robert Goot, President of ECAJ and a member of the Claims Conference Leadership Council. “These heroes of history managed against all odds to survive Nazism. Now it is up to us to help them, and we will do so for as long as is needed.”

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.

The organizations in Australia that provide aid with Claims Conference allocations are JewishCare New South Wales and Jewish Care Victoria. COA Sydney Incorporated also receives Claims Conference funding for food programs for Holocaust victims. Survivor eligibility for homecare is set out by the German Government and generally includes Nazi victims who were in camps, ghettos, in hiding, under false identity, those who were under Nazi occupation, those in Axis countries and those who fled, and is means tested to ensure those most in need are assisted.

In 2015, total Claims Conference allocations to social service organizations around the world will total USD $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.

These allocations are entirely separate from the individual compensation payments also distributed by the Claims Conference to Holocaust victims.

It is important to understand that 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.

“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.”

Homecare funded by Claims Conference allocations encompasses a wide variety of services, intrinsic to 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 light housekeeping and cooking, while others, more infirm, require help with the basic activities of daily living, such as dressing and hygiene. The additional funding for 2015 will be used for all of these purposes.

This remarkable increase in funding will enable Jewish social service agencies to 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. Funding for 2015, to social service organizations working with survivors, is based on the projected unmet needs that such organizations have reported to the Claims Conference.

Bill Appleby - Jewish Care

Bill Appleby – CEO Jewish Care

Melbourne’s Jewish Care told J-Wire: “In 2014, Jewish Care supported over 600 Holocaust survivors with Claims Conference funded services including home care, personal care, medical, dental and other emergency needs.

Jewish Care told J-Wire that they believe that there are 3,350 Holocaust survivors in the Victorian community, which has the second largest proportion of Holocaust survivors outside of Israel.

A spokesperson for the Melbourne-based organisation added: “The funding will support Holocaust survivors who live in their own home to receive the help they need and to improve their quality of life.

The increased funding will enable Jewish Care to service those on a wait list who require financial assistance for medical and dental needs. Furthermore, we will be significantly increasing the hours of support we deliver for in-home care and develop specialised packages of support for Holocaust survivors, similar to the packages available through the Commonwealth.”

The funds will enable Jewish Care to widen their current activities in easing the load of Holocaust survivors. The spokesperson said: “Jewish Care has a strong and active network of Jewish and local organisations that assist us to promote the services we provide to Holocaust survivors. We know that there are many more Holocaust survivors who need support and our aim is to ensure that we reach out to all survivors who need care and can benefit from the funding.

We have a Holocaust Survivor Advisory Committee comprised of Holocaust survivors, members representing the JCCV, the Jewish Holocaust Centre, Am Echad and other community members who are dedicated to promoting the availability of supports to the community. We are also fortunate to have the support and guidance of Dr Danny Lamm and Robert Goot who have advocated tirelessly on behalf of our Australian community to their Claims Conference Board of Directors colleagues.”

Claire Vernon CEO JewishCare

Claire Vernon CEO JewishCare

He added:  “Our delivery of care to Holocaust survivors will be significantly enhanced. The increased funding will enable Jewish Care to deliver more hours of care, financial support and more staff to provide hands-on care and reduce client waiting periods.”

In Sydney, JewishCare currently supports nearly 200 eligible survivors with home care and a number of these will be able to receive increased hours of support as needed. While we currently have no waiting list for survivors it will enable us to meet demand of any new referrals.

The funds are also used to support our Restitution information and advice service at JewishCare and the drop in centre for Russian speaking survivors at Waterloo.

The additional funds will allow JewishCare to enhance services to eligible survivors by providing increased hours of support to those who need it.

JewishCare in Sydney will now be in a position to aid more survivors in need of help. A spokesperson told J-Wire: “We will be working with our Holocaust Survivors Advisory Group which has representatives from B’nai B’rith, Child Survivors Group, Jewish Centre on Ageing and the Australian Association of Holocaust Survivors and Descendants to get the word out about the increased funding. We want to ensure that any survivors in need are contacting us and getting the support funded by Claims Conference.

As the one stop shop for community aged services, these packages complement our Australian government packages and the range of other support we provide for Holocaust survivors such as our social workers, carer support, emergency financial relief.”

President of JewishCare Allan Vidor added:  “The extra funding is a great vote of confidence in our excellent community aged care services. It follows on visits by Claims Conference auditors and recently their senior policy analyst who were able to see first-hand the high quality home care we provide. JewishCare is a trusted provider both by our funders and our clients. Supporting Holocaust survivors as they age at home is a privilege and I am grateful for the additional funding to support our work “






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