Just two weeks before Holocaust Memorial Day, survivors and educational projects in Britain have received a new financial boost from the Claims Conference.
The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which works to secure compensation and restitution for survivors of the Holocaust, has allocated more than $2.6m for Nazi victim services in the UK for 2009, an increase of more than $100,000 from 2008.
The Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR), which distributes the money to UK survivors, has welcomed the increase.
“We are extremely grateful to the Claims Conference for this increase. These additional funds reflect the success of the UK Umbrella Group and the determination of its members to work together to identify and provide vital social and welfare services to Holocaust survivors and refugees throughout the country,” said Michael Hilsenrath, chairman of the UK Umbrella Group that supports and represents survivors and refugees in Britain.
However, $380,000 of the new money — almost a fifth of the allocation — is going towards art projects.
The Ben Uri Gallery in London has received $20,000 to enable them to subsidise other galleries and museums across the country to stage their exhibition Auktion 392: Reclaiming the Galerie Stern, Düsseldorf, Telling the Story of Art, Politics, Persecution and Restitution. This show detailed the process of returning paintings to the estate of Dr Max Stern, a Jewish gallery owner from Dusseldorf whose collection was looted by the Nazis.
Suzanne Lewis, director of the Ben Uri Art Gallery, said: “The museum is both honoured and delighted at the recognition of our active involvement and long term commitment to complex and sensitive issues involved with Nazi-spoliated art, through, among other activities, touring Auktion 392 worldwide.
“Through the exhibition we maintain the spotlight and engage diverse general publics across the UK and internationally on the social history of the time, and the importance for museums to address the provenance of, and research, their collections with vigour.”
The Jewish Museum in London, which is in the middle of a major rebuilding and renovation project, has received $90,000 towards developing a new permanent display on the Holocaust, including a dedicated education gallery.
World Ort received $20,000 for the development of a Bulgarian Holocaust education website and translation of materials into Bulgarian for a new Holocaust education centre in Sofia, and the Conference of European Rabbis received $250,000 for the development of a web-based database of Jewish community cemeteries and martyr sites.