COVID emergency fund launched for Holocaust survivors

(U.S. Air Force photo by Melissa Peterson)

To increase support for agencies caring for Holocaust survivors, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany on April 6 announced it had created a $4.3 million Holocaust survivor emergency assistance fund.

“We are taking a number of immediate steps to meet the urgent needs the pandemic has created and to get funds to agencies rapidly,” said Greg Schneider, Claims Conference executive vice president. “This includes significant advances of nearly $300 million of previously committed funds, relaxing reporting deadlines which will allow these funds to get to agencies far earlier than usual and, of course, this new Holocaust survivor emergency fund.”

The Claims Conference is a nonprofit organization that secures material compensation for Holocaust survivors around the world. Before the announcement of the emergency fund, the Claims Conference was already expected to distribute $350 million in direct compensation to 60,000 survivors in 83 countries this year, and allocate approximately $610 million in grants to social service agencies that provide services to survivors such as homecare and food and medicine delivery.

The emergency fund was established this month reinforce those services, and to expand virtual/telephone socialization programs and volunteer programs to help alleviate isolation and loneliness. The fund will help ensure survivors can be cared for safely by supporting purchases of personal protection equipment, hand sanitizer and bleach wipes.

“The Claims Conference is committed to supporting survivors through our network of social service agencies around the globe,” said Claims Conference President Julius Berman.

“Agencies are going to have a cash flow problem and fundraising is going to be difficult.  We want them to do what they do best and go save lives. This is what is important — this is why we are pushing approximately $300 million into the system immediately,” he said.

In addition to an initial $4 million contribution from the Claims Conference, the emergency fund includes donations of 200,000 Euro from the Alfred Landecker Foundation and $100,000 from the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

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