Posts Tagged 'holocaust'

Claims Conference – The Holocaust

The Holocaust Remembrance Day was 2 days ago, on Thursday, May 1st 2008.
My grandmother, Ida Reznik, is a Holocaust survivor, born March 19, 1922. She has Alzheimer’s.

There are about 550,000 Holocaust survivors living around the world.
400,000 Holocaust survivors live in Israel.
100,000 (25%) of them live in poverty.
30 Holocaust survivors die each week.

Today I watch ‘Reparations Morality 2‘ (60min, Hebrew), a powerful documentary film that investigates why Holocaust survivors in Israel (as well as in other countries) do not get the financial support THEY ARE ENTITLED TO, from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference). A year after the first film, the directors, Guy Meros and Orly Federbush, travel Israel, Berlin, New York, Washington and Moscow, trying to un-cover the greatest mystery of all: Why the compensation money is not transferred to the survivors?

Claims Conference (non-profit organization, based in NYC) has 4 sources of funds:

  • Compensations from German Government
  • Compensations from Swish Banks
  • Insurance Policies
  • Recovered unclaimed German Jewish property

The Claims Conference website is full with information, guides, forms, negotiation, survivors’ pictures and responses (such as their response to the film). I’m sure that for the past 50 years they have done a remarkable work, negotiating the compensations, allocating the funds, improving the survivors’ life and so on, as their mission states:

The mission of the Claims Conference over its 50-year history has always been to secure what we consider a small measure of justice for Jewish victims of Nazi persecution. We have pursued this goal since 1951 through a combination of negotiations, disbursing funds to individuals and organizations, and seeking the return of Jewish property lost during the Holocaust.

Even if the film is ‘one-sided sensationalist litany of attacks and criticism… riddled with inaccuracies and distortions… fueled by a small band of disgruntled parties who are motivated by self-interests‘ – why they denied 30,000 claims of Holocaust survivors? why they take 20% commission on funds distributed to survivors? why they don’t disclose the full list of recovered unclaimed properties they have? why each claim is discussed in court, putting the survivors in more agony and pain? why the survivors need to apply for compensation in the first place? Haven’t they been through enough?

The Israeli Government is doing very little to support the people who built this country, and showed us what strength means. We owe them the world, but throw bureaucracy at them.
In 10-20 years there will be no Holocaust survivors left. What are we waiting for?

The Claims Conference adheres to US legal system.

‘What Hitler didn’t finish in 1944, you finished now’ (a survivor in a US court hearing, to a Claim Conference representative).

Reparations Morality 2 – 2008 Documentary film, Hebrew, 60min (streaming)
Reparation Morality – 2006 Documentary film, Hebrew, 60min (streaming)
The Holocaust
The Holocaust Remembrance Day
Yad Vashem – The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority
Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany

The Holocaust

January 27 is the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, set by a UN official resolution on November 1st 2005.

There can be no reversing the unique tragedy of the Holocaust. It must be remembered, with shame and horror, for as long as human memory continues. Only by remembering can we pay fitting tribute to the victims. Millions of innocent Jews and members of other minorities were murdered in the most barbarous ways imaginable. We must never forget those men, women and children, or their agony. Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General, January 27, 2006.

The Holocaust is the term used to describe the murder of approximately 6 Millions European Jews, during World War II, part of Hitler’s Final Solution.

The Holocaust is not a subject you happen to bring up in a conversation. There have been few cases I’ve been asked about it, usually when abroad, by friends trying to understand. But it’s not an easy subject to explain. Today I set my clock to watch Paper Clips, a documentary film that captures how the children of Whitwell Middle School responded to lessons about the Holocaust – with a promise to honor every lost soul by collecting one paper clip for each individual exterminated by the Nazis. Inspiring project and a touching movie. They ended up collecting 11 millions paper clips (6 million Jew and another 5 million Gypsies), showcased in a rail car at the school yard.

Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes Remembrance Authority, was established in 1953 by the Israeli Knesset and is entrusted with documenting the history of Jewish people during the Holocaust period. If you visit Israel you have to go there. I’ll join you. There’s never enough. Although it’s not something we advertise that much, Yad Vashem website has some parts running on IBM WebSphere Portal, such as The Central Database of Holocaust Victims’ Names. Earlier this week the CIO office told me Yad Vashem website is now available in another language, Arabic. Now Yad Vashem site supports 17 different languages.

My grandparents are Holocaust survivors. They were born in Poland in the 1920’s and were able to escape the camps – my grandfather dressed as a German cop and walked for days in the snowy German forest. He passed away in 1975 and my grandmother told me the stories.
We are running out of time. Time to sit with the survivors and hear their stories. Listen to their tone. Share the pain. My grandmother has Alzheimer’s and she’s silent now.
I feel very fortunate to have heard her story, more than once, in her words.

Never Forget.

Remembering the 6 millions

My employer, IBM Israel, started today a special series for employees, retirees and family members about The Holocaust. The series, in conjunction with Yad Vasehm, Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, includes several aspects of The Holocaust. Today was the first lecture, about Holocaust Denial, which recently jumped to the headlines, after Iran’s Holocaust Denial Conference, held in December 2006.

During the lecture we saw actual footage of film that was taken during WW2, by a German Navy soldier, and 3 other movies (other than Schindler’s List) that elaborates the Hell people suffered some 60 years ago. We also saw a piece by ’60 Minutes’ from the 90’s about Holocaust Denial, and the lies they spread where ever they went.

I am almost 29 now, both my parents were born and raised in Israel, but both my grandparents are survivors of that awful event. I heard stories, saw movies, read books and visited Poland in high-school. For me, as a Jew, it’s part of my legacy, my past, my present and my future.

I am not pretending to know all there is about The Holocaust, that’s why Yad Vashem was established. But I know the hard facts, and if someone would ask me I know what to answer.

If you are Jewish, Yad Vashem is a must see in your to-do list. More so if you live in Israel – the new Yad Vashem Museum is stunning and you’ll need more than a day to see everything. But the main exhibit can be walked through in 3 hours, with or without a guide, and it will leave you searching for words, to express what you saw.

In honor of the 6 million who lost their lives, so we can live our own, freely.

Mobile & Media Consultant. I help startup companies launch products to the consumer market. Reach out: dvir.reznik [at]



This is my personal blog. The postings here do not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my past employers or of my clients. It is solely my opinion.