(article from 2010)
New York - The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the United States, announced today that it has established a new, five-year, $10 million grant to fund emergency services for Holocaust survivors residing in North America through the Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (The Claims Conference). The Weinberg Holocaust Survivors Emergency Assistance Fund (“The Weinberg Fund”) will fund a range of emergency services to survivors, including medical equipment and medications, dental care, transportation, food, and short-term home care.
It is estimated that there are more than 500,000 Holocaust survivors worldwide, with more than 144,000 victims living in North America. The remaining Nazi victims live mostly in Israel and the Former Soviet Union. The average age of a Nazi victim is 79 years with nearly one-quarter of victims 85-years-old or older. One in four aging survivors lives alone in the U.S. and an estimated 37% live at or below the poverty level, a level that is five times the rate of other senior citizens in the U.S.
The Weinberg Fund will provide the financial resources needed to supplement critical services for Holocaust survivors in the communities where they reside. The Weinberg Foundation is one of the largest private Jewish foundations in the U.S., with a mission to fund nonprofits that assist vulnerable populations. For decades, the Foundation has focused much of its efforts within that broad mission on poor older adults and the Jewish community.
“Many aging victims of the Holocaust require assistance to meet their basic needs for shelter, food and medical care,” said Rachel Monroe, president of The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. “The grant for emergency assistance is expected to help at least 10,000 Nazi victims living in poverty throughout North America. The Weinberg Foundation remains committed to honoring these courageous men and women whose memories we call upon to educate the world today and for generations to come.”
Judge Ellen M. Heller, a Trustee of the Weinberg Foundation, stated, “The Weinberg Fund gives recognition to the increasing medical and social welfare needs of the aging Jewish Holocaust victims in North America as they enter the final chapter of their lives. No amount of money can compensate these victims of Nazi persecution for the horrors they have suffered. However, the Weinberg Fund will provide crucial assistance and allow these older adults to live out their remaining years with dignity and respect.”
The Weinberg Holocaust Survivor Emergency Assistance Fund will be administered and managed by the highly respected Claims Conference based in New York. The Claims Conference was founded in 1951 when representatives of 23 major national and international Jewish organizations from eight countries met in New York to seek restitution for Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Since its formation, the Claims Conference has continually sought to secure Holocaust-related benefits for victims of the Holocaust resulting in $60 billion in restitution from the German government. Today, the Claims Conference manages grants made by governments and funders throughout the world. The nonprofit has a structure currently in place for emergency assistance grants that will ensure the swift and effective distribution of funds for services.
During the past two decades, the Weinberg Foundation has distributed $6.3 million in grants to 54 different organizations serving Holocaust survivors throughout North America. Upon the conclusion of this grant in 2014, the Weinberg Foundation will have given more than $16 million to support Holocaust survivors in North America. In addition, the Weinberg Foundation has granted millions of dollars to nonprofits that provide direct services to Holocaust survivors and other poor, older adults throughout Israel and the Former Soviet Union, where the majority of survivors reside today.
“The Claims Conference is honored to work in partnership with the Weinberg Foundation to address the increasing needs of elderly Jewish victims of Nazism,” said Julius Berman, chairman of the Claims Conference. “Every day, Holocaust victims with very limited means have to cope with the costs of housing, medicine, food, and other vital needs that they often cannot meet. We hope that the generosity and vision of the Weinberg Foundation will galvanize support for these heroes of the Jewish people.”
Claims Conference Executive Vice President Greg Schneider stated, “Aging Jewish Holocaust victims, abandoned by the world in their youth must now know that they are remembered and cared for in their final years. The Claims Conference is grateful to the Weinberg Foundation for recognizing and responding to the basic needs of so many Nazi victims. Together, we must continue to take on the moral imperative to ensure that Holocaust victims live out their years in a manner befitting the courage and resilience they displayed and the suffering they endured.”
The grant will provide $1 million in 2010, $2.5 million in 2011, 2012, and 2013, and $1.5 million in 2014.