'Claims' criticism rejected

By Simon Rocker, December 29, 2010

The Board of Deputies has dismissed complaints about a critical report into the Claims Conference, the international body which distributes compensation to Holocaust survivors.

Julius Berman, the conference's chairman, said the Board had not given them a chance to comment on the report before publishing.

But Jon Benjamin, the Board's chief executive, said the main findings had been sent to the New York-based conference in summer, and a copy of the final document was given a week before publication earlier this month.

The report, written by independent QC Jeffrey Gruder, a former deputy, involves properties and businesses owned by Jews in East Germany which had been seized by the Nazis. After the reunification of Germany, the German government set deadlines for potential heirs to lay claim to properties.

Unclaimed assets then passed into the hands of the Claims Conference, which sold them, distributing the proceeds for the welfare of Holocaust survivors or Holocaust education. Since 1995, it has received around £1,725 billion from the assets.

But the report concluded the Claims Conference had not done enough to help heirs recover their property.

Last updated: 3:05pm, December 29 2010