The $15 million is the first of what will be 10 annual disbursements from $132 million in humanitarian funds received by ICHEIC last year from the German Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future” representing German insurance companies, for the benefit of needy Holocaust survivors. ICHEIC has asked the Claims Conference to implement initial distribution of the funds.
Of the $15 million distributed this year by the Claims Conference, $2.4 million will be used in the U.S. Israeli survivors will receive $6.03 million in assistance in 2003, while $3.45 million will be used in the Former Soviet Union, $2.6 million in Europe, and $525,000 in other countries around the world.
Much of the ICHEIC money will be used primarily to provide homecare, an increasingly pressing need among Holocaust survivors. Many Nazi victims are without the resources to provide for such care. Nursing homes, a traditional option for many elderly, are often not a desirable option for Holocaust survivors, for whom life in an institution with rules and regulations may be particularly traumatic.
Homecare includes a range of services that enable elderly to remain living in their own homes, from housekeeping and help with daily tasks of living to skilled nursing and home modifications for disabled residents. Auxiliary services include food packages and hot meals as well as assistance with medical equipment and purchasing medication.
For Jewish Nazi victims whose family may have moved away, or who live in countries with little or no government provision of services, such care can enable these elderly to remain independent in their homes and adds a measure of dignity to their lives.
“ICHEIC was founded to help partially correct the historic wrong of unpaid insurance policies to victims of the Holocaust and their families. The distribution of these humanitarian funds to assist needy survivors shows that the need to obtain the funds while there is still the opportunity to care for survivors is imperative,” said ICHEIC Chairman Lawrence Eagleburger.
“The agreement by the insurance companies to provide assistance to needy survivors is some 60 years too late in coming. We persevered in negotiating because we cannot reward theft with silence,” said Claims Conference President Israel Singer.
“Many Holocaust survivors are becoming more vulnerable as they grow older and have social service needs that are increasing. Because ICHEIC obtained these long-overdue funds, survivors will now receive more of the care and assistance they deserve,” said Roman Kent, Chairman of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors.
“The Department is pleased to be part of this historic effort,” said Gregory V. Serio, New York Superintendent of Insurance and chair of the NAIC International Holocaust Commission Task Force. “Under Governor Pataki’s leadership and in conjunction with ICHEIC and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), we have worked steadfastly to ensure that elderly Holocaust survivors will receive much-needed assistance with homecare, an increasingly pressing need among Holocaust survivors.”
Individuals may file claims with ICHEIC for compensation for unpaid insurance policies until Sept. 30. For more information, see www.icheic.org.