Claims commission pays holocaust survivors

Jerusalem Post, Israel
March 31 2004

Claims commission pays holocaust survivors

Nearly 16,000 Holocaust survivors whose families held insurance
policies during the Second World War received $16m in humanitarian
payments this week, the International Commission on Holocaust Era
Insurance Claims (ICHEIC) announced Tuesday.

The payments, of $1,000 each, were mailed to survivors and heirs who
lacked documentation to prove their claims. Using anecdotal evidence
or recollections of Holocaust-era policies, claims were evaluated
according to criteria established by former National Security Advisor
Sandy Berger, who now serves as senior counselor to ICHEIC’s
humanitarian claims process.

“What we’re doing now is a measure of belated justice, and all
justice which is belated is faulty,” said the president of the
Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Israel Singer,
at a press conference Tuesday announcing the payments. Calling the
announcement a “muted triumph of justice,” Roman Kent, chairman of
the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, added: “I’m
sorry that this meeting did not take place 50 years ago, when so many
of us would be alive.”

Recipients in 60 countries spanning the globe from Armenia to
Zimbabwe will receive payments within the next few days; of the
15,890 recipients, of whom more than 90% are Holocaust survivors and
less than 10% are heirs, 5,061 live in Israel and 4,867, including
approximately 1,000 New Yorkers, live in the US, an ICHEIC release

The chief operating officer of ICHEIC, Mara Rudman, said that while
just half of those who filed a claim with the commission were slated
to receive payments this week, efforts to further identify eligible
recipients are ongoing.

Since it was established in 1998 by the National Association of
Insurance Commissioners, European insurance companies, European
regulators, Jewish leaders and the State of Israel, ICHEIC has
received nearly $500m to settle Holocaust-era claims and provide
humanitarian assistance to survivors. To date, the commission has
paid out more than $80m to claimants.