In about two months the new Company for Locating and Retrieving Assets of People Who Were Killed in the Holocaust Ltd. will start publishing the names Holocaust victims who had owned land, accounts or shares, and artwork or Judaica in what is now
Larry Derfner writes in Thursday’s Jerusalem Post that
The Company's self-stated goal is to seek justice for the heirs of Jews killed in the Holocaust whose property was absorbed into Isr
[Chairman Avraham] Roet estimates their total value as "at least $500 million, but we think it's more than $1 billion." He explains that even if an original bank deposit was only a few British pounds, the heirs are entitled not only to the principal but to 70 or more years of interest as well.
A deposit of $1 at an annual interest rate of 5%, compounded monthly, would be worth about $32.75 after 70 years.
As for the property, Roet explains: "Let's say somebody bought five dunams [1.25 acre/0.5 hectares] of sand dunes in 1931. How much could it have cost then? But five dunams in what has since become, say, Ramat Aviv, is worth a great deal today."
But it might be too soon to quit your job if one of your ancestors invested in
Once the names start being published and the heirs presumably begin coming forward, the procedure for finding out who the owners were, what they owned and who is entitled to inherit it stands to be drawn out and extraordinarily complex.
Although Roet only expects to be able to locate about 30% of the heirs, there is a formula for disrtributing unclaimed amounts,
10% will go, by law, to Holocaust education and memorialization, 15% into a reserve fund and 75% to impoverished Holocaust survivors living here, who number, by conservative estimates, 70,000. This could mean hundreds of millions of badly-needed dollars for these people's food, health care and other basic needs. They are old, mainly in their 80s, and time is running out for them.
According to Wikipedia, (source ‘"40% of Holocaust survivors in
As of 2005, of the nearly 400,000 Holocaust survivors residing in
If there are only 70,000 impoverished Holocaust survivors living in
Not that I’m among those who expect any kind of altruism from the Jewish state. Nor is it just the octogenarian Holocaust survivors who are getting the short end of the stick. I’ve already written about the 35% of Jewish children in
By law, though, the unclaimed assets cannot be transferred to needy survivors right away, because they are privately owned and must be set aside for the heirs for at least a certain amount of time. Asked how long it might be before those 70,000 economically-strapped Holocaust survivors might see that money, Roet says it's impossible to tell at such an early stage.
He is very critical of the government, the financial institutions, the Zionist organizations and every other establishment organ for their response to demands for restitution made in recent years by descendants of the Holocaust martyrs.
"Mainly, I blame
In a further irony,
The law that emerged from the Knesset inquiry…requires the state to fund the Company's work with
It is now seven years since the Knesset inquiry into
And some of the great grandchildren of those Holocaust victims may someday see some benefit from their slaughtered ancestors’ investments. But I’m not optimistic about the survivors in