OU Honorary President Julius Berman Leads Claims Conference Success
Claims Conference Chairman Julius Berman, left, and German Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble, signed an agreement reaffirming Germany’s commitment to Holocaust compensation payments and aid to survivors.
The government of Germany has committed, through an agreement signed with the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), to continue compensation payments to eligible Holocaust survivors and providing funding for homecare for elderly victims.
At a recent ceremony at the Jewish Museum Berlin, German Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble and Claims Conference Chairman Julius Berman signed an agreement that will continue to govern the Claims Conference’s compensation programs and the provision of homecare funding by the German government. Mr. Berman is Honorary President of the Orthodox Union, an organization that he has served for many years. He is also Chairman of the OU Press Commission, which oversees the work and publications of OU Press.
The agreements come 60 years after the historic first agreements were signed in September 1952 that pledged West Germany to providing payments for certain Jewish survivors of the Holocaust. Those first agreements, called the Luxembourg Agreements, have been followed in the ensuing decades with numerous other funds and programs to provide payments and assistance to Holocaust victims, established through ongoing negotiations between the Claims Conference and the government of Germany.
Through the rise and fall of Communism, the reunification of Germany and subsequent German governments, the Claims Conference has continued to work with the German Ministry of Finance to ensure that Holocaust survivors obtain a small measure of justice. These 60 years of negotiations to provide acknowledgement to Holocaust survivors has been an unparalleled historic endeavour.
“Our work has never been about the money. It has always been about the recognition, the validation, the acknowledgement of Holocaust victims,” said Mr. Berman. “Our work for them is not done. Not yet. Together, we owe it to these heroes of the Jewish people to make their last years more dignified and comforting than their youth. Survivors were abandoned by the world once -- we continue to work to make sure that they will never be abandoned again.”