Introduction: Following upon the huge embarrassment caused not only to the Canadian Government, but to Canada as a whole, by the decision to invite a former member of a Ukrainian Waffen SS unit into the House of Commons where he was applauded as a “war hero,” we asked David Matas, renowned lawyer and expert on the issue of Nazi war criminals who were allowed into Canada following World War II, to write a piece providing an analysis how Canada has failed so badly, not only to prevent Nazis and individuals who cooperated with the Nazi regime, to enter Canada, but also to continually refuse to identify who those individuals were. Following is David Matas’s piece:
Getting access to Canadian Nazi war criminal records has to date been nearly impossible. Efforts to obtain access to relevant files and documents have been constantly frustrated and gone nowhere. The record is this.
On January 12, 2022, B’nai Brith Canada put in a request to Library and Archives Canada for Part II of the Report of the Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals. Part I was public in 1986 when the Commission reported. Part II was confidential.
Part II contained, according to Part I, 822 opinions on individual cases. The Commission recommended that the Government give “urgent attention” to investigating 20 files of alleged Nazi war criminals who might still be living in Canada. The report also recommended further investigation of 218 other possible Nazi war criminals living in Canada.
What happened to the 20 cases which were recommended for urgent attention and the further 218 which were recommended for further investigation? We have no idea. We know that there some cases which went to Court and we have the Court records of those cases. But which of these were part of the 20 or 218, if any, were not disclosed.
As of today, Library and Archives Canada, one year and ten months later, has not responded to the request for Part II, other than to acknowledge receipt and assign the request a file number. B’nai Brith Canada complained on December 5, 2022 to the Office of the Information Commissioner asking the Commissioner to issue an order setting a deadline for Library and Archives Canada to provide B’nai Brith with a copy of the Part II Report. That complaint, as of today, has not been decided.
Also on January 12, 2022, B’nai Brith Canada put in a request to Library and Archives Canada for records relating to investigations of alleged Nazi war criminals of the War Crimes Unit of the Department of Justice and the RCMP. Canada’s Program on Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Eighth Annual Report 2004-2005 stated that, since beginning this work, the Department of Justice had opened and examined over 1,800 files. Who are these people? What was the result of the investigations in these cases?
With that request too, Library and Archives Canada has not responded, other than to acknowledge receipt and assign the request a file number. B’nai Brith Canada complained as well on December 5, 2022 to the Office of the Information Commissioner asking the Commissioner to issue an order setting a deadline for Library and Archives Canada to provide B’nai Brith with copies of the war crimes records. That complaint, as of today, has, like the other complaint, not been decided.
B’nai Brith Canada on March 6, 2023 asked for an unredacted copy of Library and Archives Canada the September, 1986 report prepared by Alti Rodal titled “Nazi War Criminals in Canada: The Historical and Policy Setting from the 1940s to the Present” prepared for the
Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals. Justice Jules Deschênes who headed the Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals recommended release of the report in its entirety. He wrote: “This substantial study no doubt constitutes an outstanding contribution to the knowledge of this particular question and deserves wide distribution.”
Library and Archives Canada provided B’nai Brith Canada on July 5th 2023 a redacted copy of the report, albeit with fewer redactions than there were at the time of the original release of the report. B’nai Brith Canada complained to the Office of the Information Commissioner within 30 days of the refusal to release the unredacted report. That complaint remains undecided.
The 2000 International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Stockholm Declaration commits the signatories to “take all necessary steps to facilitate the opening of archives in order to ensure that all documents bearing on the Holocaust are available to researchers.” Canada joined the Alliance in 2009.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Monitoring Access to Archives Project recommended in 2017 that governmental archival institutions “release Holocaust related records, irrespective of any personal identifying information or national security classifications”.
The US Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998 created an interagency war criminals records working group to locate, identify, inventory for declassification and make public all classified Nazi war criminal records. The records subject to the Act include records of the assets of persecuted persons. The Act kept existing exemptions to disclosure in general laws, but required that they be strictly defined, with a presumption against the exemptions.
In addition to general requirements of strict definition and presumption against the exemptions, some of the exemptions were themselves redefined to limit their scope. The exemption from disclosure in favour of privacy is redrafted to become an exemption where there would be “a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy”. The exemption in favour of national security interests is redrafted to become an exemption where disclosure “would clearly and demonstrably damage the national security interests of the United States”. The exemptions in favour foreign relations and diplomatic activities is redrafted to become an exemption where disclosure “would clearly and demonstrably damage” foreign relations or diplomatic activities. The exemption in favour of emergency preparedness plans is redrafted to become an exemption for information that “would seriously and demonstrably impair” those plans.
The records which were disclosed as a result of US Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act give us an insight into why the documents were withheld. One set of documents showed that the US Government had a lot more detailed knowledge of the Holocaust while it was happening. Keeping this information confidential and not acting on it at the time, whether or not it fits arguably within any of the exemptions, does make the US government of the time look bad. There is presumably similar information in currently withheld documentation of other governments.
A second set of documents initially withheld and then disclosed through the US legislation was documents showing that the Government was providing haven for those complicit in Nazi war crimes because of their potential to assist the US in the Cold War. Again this sort of information now withheld may well be found in other archives.
A third set of documents initially withheld and then disclosed because of the legislation were documents which showed the initial unwillingness to bring Nazi war criminals to justice, and the argumentation both for and against within the government. This argumentation we know has been replicated elsewhere.
A fourth set of documents not yet fully available relates to the effectiveness and operational difficulties of Nazi war crimes prosecution efforts once those efforts got going. In Canada, there was a split between the investigation and prosecution efforts, with investigations allocated to the national police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and prosecution allocated to the Department of Justice. This fragmentation caused a sequence of operational difficulties about which we now have only partial knowledge.
There was also in Canada internal feuding within the Nazi war crimes Justice department unit, arguments whether the unit was too slow and cautious or overly energetic in the pursuit of their efforts. The documents we have now provide only a glimpse of this feuding.
A sixth set of documents not now completely disclosed is efforts of Nazi war crimes prosecution units that were established to obtain access to relevant documents in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. We know that there was a good deal of difficulty in getting that access and that eventually international agreements were negotiated that allowed foreign war crimes units direct access to those archives rather than working through local archivists. Again, this is a story which could be fully told only with release of all relevant documents.
A seventh difficulty is the inclination of archivists, government officials and Parliamentarians to address the difficulties in access to documentation all at once. Yet, attempting to do everything before one does anything is a recipe for doing nothing. Each request is particular, not least in the archival access issues it presents. An effort to resolve all these myriad issues in one fell swoop goes nowhere.
We can see in several countries self-exoneration and blame shifting as a form of Holocaust distortion. Everywhere the Nazis went they relied on local collaboration to identify, locate, detain and murder the Jewish population. What we see now in several countries is an effort to pretend that the locals were innocent, that the only perpetrators were the invading Nazis.
This whitewashing is not confined to the countries invaded. It is an attitude held within the populations which have emigrated from the invaded countries. This attitude had generated opposition to the effort to bring Nazi war criminals to justice and now generates opposition to disclosure of archives about those efforts.
Canadian privacy law allows for the lapse of the right to privacy twenty years after death. However, in the case of Nazi war criminal files, since the names of those, other than those whose cases have gone to court, are not known, neither is their dates of death. While the dates of death are not known to outsiders, they are either known or knowable to archivists.
The situation justifies these recommendations:
1) Obstacles to access to Nazi war criminal records stem from legislation which is general in nature. There needs to be legislation which is specific to Holocaust records and which provides an exception to these general requirements. The legislation needs to encompass Holocaust related archives concerning both perpetrators and victims.
2) National archives need to establish and maintain separate Holocaust records within their general collections.
3) Insofar as there is discretion in current legislation to allow for exceptions to prohibitions to access, that discretion should be exercised in favour of access to Holocaust related records, including Nazi war crimes records.
4) Parliament can obtain documents from Governments which the public can not obtain. Parliament should exercise that power to obtain Holocaust related records.
5) The public interest in access to Nazi war criminal files should prevail over the right to be forgotten.
6) There needs to be active review of Nazi war criminal files both to make publicly available the files where the dates of death are known and the fixed periods after dates of death in privacy legislation have passed, and to determine whether any of those to whom the files relate are still alive or, if dead, the dates of death, where the deaths or dates of death are not known.
Canada, as a member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, is committed to Holocaust remembrance. To remember the Holocaust, we must remember the victims. We must also not forget their murderers. While the murderers are alive, that means bringing them to justice. Once they are gone, it means providing public access to the record of their atrocities.
During the Holocaust, the murderers were in Europe. After the Holocaust, the murderers scattered around the world to escape justice. Thousands came to Canada. Howard Margolian, a historian with the War Crimes Unit with the Department of Justice, in his book Unauthorized Entry, estimated that 2,000 Nazi war criminals and collaborators entered Canada after World War II.
It is understandable that files about individuals who are still alive are not made accessible to the public unless there is legal action. But once the individual has died, there is no reason why the file could not be made public, no matter what the state of the evidence about the individual. Not doing so amounts to covering up the haven Canada has given to those complicit in Nazi war crimes with a blanket of secrecy.
Philosopher George Santayana wrote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Yet, we can not remember a past which remains hidden from us. To remember the past we must know the past. Only through public access to Holocaust archives can we learn lessons from those archives.
Learning lessons from the Holocaust is a legacy we can create for the victims, creating meaning from the senseless death of innocents. To learn those lessons, we need access to the archives which can convey them.
The effort at understanding, of learning the lessons from the Holocaust must never stop. For that history to be written, the files of those against whom there is compelling evidence of complicity in Nazi war crimes and who are now dead must be made public.
We have a duty to the victims, not just to remember that they died, but why they died, how they died. The picture of memory we paint must be real and complete. That picture must include the murderers.
Because we will soon be at a stage where the memory of the Holocaust conveyed by survivors will no longer be with us, access to Holocaust archives looms in importance for keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive. Access to Holocaust archives should be a matter of priority to Governments, Parliaments and archival collections.
David Matas is a Winnipeg lawyer and senior honorary counsel to B’nai Brith Canada
Coming Soon: 5 New Online Slots from Award-Winning Providers
Meta: Here are some of the world’s best new online slot machines that are coming soon to several fully licensed & regulated online casinos.
As the festive season fast approaches, there are lots of new online slot machines to look forward to from various market-leading, multi-award-winning online casino game development studios and software providers.
If you live in Canada and want to be one of the first online casino players to try out some of these hotly anticipated new online slots, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s dive straight in to reveal the names of several eagerly awaited new slots.
Top new online slots coming soon
Instead of listing all 100+ new online slots that are expected to arrive at some point over the coming weeks, here are just a handful of the most talked-about new slots that will soon be arriving at various fully licensed and regulated iGaming sites like the official ComeOn online casino.
You will be able to launch these new slots instantly in your web browser, and you will be able to play them in the real money mode and free play practice mode. However, you must be at least 19 if you wish to play them for real money.
Without further ado, the top 5 new online slots to keep an eye out for over the coming weeks are the following:
- Galactic Racers Dream Drop progressive jackpot online slot by Relax Gaming
- Hoop Kings online slot by Booming Games
- Breaking Bad: Cash Collect & Link online slot by Playtech
- Book of Yuletide online slot by Quickspin
- John Hunter Nell ’Antica Roma online slot by Pragmatic Play
There are no official launch dates available for any of these new slots. However, many of these games are likely to have already arrived by the time you are reading these words.
Some of the other upcoming new online slot machines to keep an eye out for in November and December 2023 are Gargantoonz, Sherwood Gold, Viking Runecraft 100 and Mega Don: Feeding Frenzy from Play’n GO, Finn and the Candy Spin, Elk Hunter and Gem Crush from NetEnt, and Jester’s Riches from Booming Games.
Others include Gold Hit: O’Reilly’s Charms, Hold Hit & Link JP Bacon & Co., Hercules Rules, Silent Samurai: Mega Cash Collect, and Lunar Link: Sky King, which are all from Playtech.
What are the latest slots I can play today?
If you can’t wait for any of these new slots to arrive and want to try out some of the latest online slots that are available to play today, then you may like to try Gold Trio: Sinbad’s Riches online slot by Ash Gaming (a Playtech subsidiary company), Megaways Bushido Princess online slot by Relax Gaming, and Big Bad Wolf: Pigs of Steel online slot by Quickspin.
Other suggestions include Area Cash Thor by Area Vegas and Games Global, Megaways: Duel of the Dead by Relax Gaming, Nile Fortune by Pragmatic Play, Win-O-RamaXL Extended by Relax Gaming, Juiced: Duomax online by Yggdrasil Gaming, and Candy Paradise by Just for the Win Studios and Games Global, to name just a few.
When playing online slots or any other casino games in the real money mode, remember to stay within your budget, take regular breaks, never chase your losses, and, where possible, take advantage of the ‘safer gambling tools’ for a safer and more enjoyable time.
Alan Guberman: from epilepsy to pancakes in 50 years
By GERRY POSNER Some individuals have had to learn an entirely different field in life while winding down from their main line of work. Well, welcome Alan Guberman who is the poster child for this kind of challenge. Hard as it is to believe, Alan was a prominent neurologist and then later in life, restaurant entrepreneur.
For those of you who can go back a distance, the Guberman name might be readily recognizable for its connection to the famous Original Pancake House restaurant on Pembina Highway. If that is where you directed your memory, you are on the right path. Allan is the son of Wally Guberman, who opened the first pancake house with his brother Monty in 1958.
Alan and his sister, Joanne, grew up in the south end of Winnipeg. After he finished high school at Kelvin and obtained his BSc at the University of Manitoba, Alan did what was uncommon back in the 1960s, when he went away and obtained his MD at McGill University in 1970. After three post-graduate years at McGill, he did his three- year neurology residency in St. Louis at Washington University and then a year of epilepsy studies in Marseille, France.
Alan returned to settle in Ottawa where he spent his whole career running the epilepsy programme at the Ottawa Hospital. He served as the Head of the Neurology Division and Director of the residency programme in Neurology for several years. He was involved actively in no fewer than12 clinical trials of antiepileptic drugs starting in 1989 and, in fact, he published extensively on epilepsy and neurology including fifty-three articles and four books. Truth be told, Alan Guberman at his peak was one of the most recognized specialists in Canada, the go-to guy for adult epilepsy in Ottawa and Eastern Quebec and – he could lecture about the subject in both French and English.
One of Guberman’s main focuses was neurology and epilepsy education. He served on several national and international boards related to epilepsy, drug development and gave numerous presentations to general neurologists and paramedical personnel. To top it off, in 2018, well after his retirement in 2012, Alan was awarded the prestigious Wilder Penfield Gold Medal by the Canadian League Against Epilepsy for outstanding lifetime clinical and/or research contributions achievement in epilepsy. Not a lot of Jewish Winnipeggers from Waverley Street, past or present, can make that statement.
Alan and his wife, Denyse Charlebois, a retired teacher, reside in Ottawa. The parent of four boys and five girls, Alan’s son Daniel is himself a busy plastic surgeon, while one of his daughters, Liana, is a dentist who has a thriving office in Ottawa.
Now given that background, it was a major challenge when, in 2004 after his father’s death, Alan, while still working full time as a neurologist and epileptologist (I rarely get a chance to use that word) in Ottawa, entered the pancake arena…quite a bit of a jump. Being the son of Wally, he had spent some time working at the Pancake Houses during his summers growing up in Winnipeg, but he was never involved afterwards. (As an aside, I have a very definite memory of that place because on my very first day at the University of Manitoba in 1960, our car pool stopped and had breakfast there. The pancakes left an indelible impression on me.)
The task of becoming a restaurateur was larger even than the famous Giant Apple Pancake, so well- known by residents and ex-residents of Winnipeg. I wondered about that move and asked Alan about it. He looked upon it as applying some of the analytic, communication and management skills that he had spent a lifetime honing in academic medicine to the restaurant business. He mentioned he was brought up to speed over the years by his business partner, Hazel Kushner, who had worked with his father for many years and served as general manager of the restaurants. Alan quickly realized that he could not mange restaurants from afar and thus relied on and continues to rely on Hazel, who lives in Winnipeg and is a highly skilled and experienced, hands- on manager. In 2019, Alan received an offer he could not refuse and sold the restaurant on Pembina. That decision left him with the three other locations, at the former Clarion Hotel, the Forks Market and the newest one, on McGillivray Boulevard.
So, at 78 years of age, Alan Guberman, retired from medicine and neurology for over ten years, now pursues his passion for bird photography, improving his golf, cheering for the Ottawa Senators, following the latest technology advances, keeping up with the news and more importantly, watching his and Denyse’s grandchildren grow. He remains very much in the pancake game and loves to travel to Winnipeg to sample the latest Pancake House creation. Just writing about the restaurant makes me want to visit to Winnipeg for a trip to the newest facility
“Reckonings” – riveting documentary film explains how the agreement to offer reparations to Holocaust victims came about
By BERNIE BELLAN Since 1952 the German government has paid more than $562 billion in compensation for crimes committed during the Holocaust, of which $472 billion has been paid to the State of Israel (in goods and services) and $90 billion in cash to individual Holocaust survivors.
How the German government came to agree to compensate victims of the Holocaust is a fascinating story – and one that is the subject of a spellbinding documentary film called “Reckonings.”
On Sunday afternoon, November 12 over 150 people gathered in the auditorium of Westwood Collegiate in St. James to view “Reckonings” and to participate in a discussion that followed the film led by Jewish Heritage of Western Canada Executive Director Belle Jarniewski and Jewish Child and Family Service Holocaust Support Services Worker Adeena Lungen.
The event was timed to coincide with the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht – “the night of broken glass,” which took place Nov. 9-10, throughout Germany, when over 7,000 Jewish businesses were damaged or destroyed, 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and incarcerated in concentration camps, and at least 100 Jews killed.
“Reckonings,” released in 2022, was directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Roberta Grossman. In a style first pioneered by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, Grossman uses historical footage, occasional reenactments, interviews with various individuals who appear from time to time throughout the film – but never for more than a couple of minutes at one time, and music composed to fit the moment, all in a fast-cutting mode that maintains your attention throughout the 74 minutes of the film.
The crux of the story is how the West German government, led by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, decided to take full responsibility for the crimes of the Holocaust, and offer reparations to Holocaust victims.
If there is any one hero in this film, it is Adenauer. As the film explains, he was a former mayor of Cologne whose family was fiercely anti-Nazi. As well, Adenauer was a devout Catholic – something that played a significant role in his wanting to come to terms with German guilt and atone for the collective sins of the German people.
On the Jewish side, the key figure working with Adenauer – and negotiating on behalf of Holocaust victims was Nahum Goldmann, who co-founded the World Jewish Congress in 1936 with Rabbi Stephen Wise.
Goldmann had been stripped of his German citizenship by the racist German Nuremberg laws (and although the film doesn’t explain it, he found refuge in Honduras.) Yet, the fact he was German-born and was able to develop a warm relationship with Adenauer proved key to the eventual creation of what came to be known as the “The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.”
The film unravels the many complexities that were involved in negotiating what turned out to be an agreement of monumental consequence, especially bringing together Jewish and German negotiators across from one another.
In the opening moments of “Reckonings,” co-producer Karen Heilig observes, “You can just imagine what it was like for Jewish representatives to sit down with German representatives only seven years after World War II…It was like negotiating with the devil.”
As the film explains, Israelis themselves were largely opposed to negotiating reparations with the German government. As Heilig observes, “They didn’t want German money.”
Similarly, most of the German population was also opposed to the idea of reparations. “Only 11% of the German population supported compensation” for Jews, according to the film.
In a very interesting insight into the psyche of the German population following the war, it is also noted that, when it came to who the German people thought were most victimized by the war, “Jews were last on the list.”
Amidst what was evidently still a deeply-rooted antisemitism within the German population – and strong opposition from within his own party (Christian Democrat), Adenauer remained adamant that Germany would negotiate reparations – both for individual victims of the Holocaust and for the recently formed State of Israel. (The Federal Republic of Germany itself only came into being in 1949.)
One of the crucial factors in Israel agreeing to negotiate reparations – after having been so solidly opposed, came toward the end of 1951, the film explains, as a result of the Israeli treasury almost being totally bare. The reason was the extraordinarily high cost that the Israeli government had incurred as a result of absorbing hundreds of thousands of refugees since the formation of the state – both Holocaust survivors and refugees from Arab countries.
Yet, despite the precarious state of Israel’s finances, there were still many who refused to countenance the notion of Israel accepting German reparations. In fact, at the time that negotiation began, in 1952, there was a boycott of German goods in Israel.
As the leader of Herut (also leader of the Opposition in the Knesset), Menachem Begin insisted, “reparations will lead to cleansing the guilt of the German people.”
However, notwithstanding the fierce opposition from among many Israelis to entering into negotiations with the German government, Israel’s government, led by David Ben Gurion, did announce that it was ready to discuss reparations, but it led off with a claim for $1 billion – the cost, it said, for absorbing 500,000 Holocaust survivors.
Adenauer agreed to negotiate with both the Israeli government and a representative organization of the Jewish people – but at the time there was no organization in place to do that.
Thus was created “The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany,” with Nachum Goldmann at its head. The other members of the negotiating team had clear goals in mind: What they were negotiating with the West German government was not about “morality,” it was about dollars and cents.
To that end, the negotiators wanted to break down compensation into two different categories: compensation for personal suffering and compensation for property lost to the Nazis.
The problem was: Who would claim compensation for property when everyone who might have owned particular properties had been annihilated?
I actually put that question to Adeena Lungen during the discussion that followed, since the film didn’t go into any detail as to how that circle could be squared. Adeena explained that survivors of Holocaust victims are often able to claim compensation for personal suffering, for which there is significant information available, but compensation for loss of property is often much more difficult to ascertain.
Agencies such as JCFS, which help survivors apply for compensation often rely upon archival information that “gives a wealth of information about property based on the recollections of others from a particular shtetl.” As Adeena further noted, “in Poland, wherever you lived there was a document that recorded where you lived” – and there is now an “online database” based upon those documents from where anyone can get detailed information about where individuals lived.
Before teams representing the three parties (West Germany, Israel, and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany) for the coming negotiations met, however, Konrad Adenauer met with Nahum Goldmann in secret to determine certain basic points: Was West Germany actually ready to pay reparations and where would the negotiations take place?
The answers to those questions were: Yes, West Germany was ready to pay and two, the negotiations were to be held in a neutral county – in this case, The Netherlands.
Although Israel and the Claims Conference were to be separate parties to negotiations with West Germany, it was agreed that Israel and the Claims Conference would coordinate their strategies together.
Prior to the commencement of negotiations, however, the film explains, “German officials wanted to come to terms with the rest of the world, then Israel and the Claims Conference,” but Israel took the position that “No, you have to come to terms with us and the Claims Conference, then the rest of the world.”
With West Germany accepting that as a pre-condition to negotiations, the representatives met and, after a prolonged series of negotiations, West Germany did agree to provide $857 million in reparations, of which $750 million was to go to Israel (but not in cash, as the film explains; rather, it was in goods and services, including raw materials, industrial machinery, and ships for the Israeli navy), while the Claims Conference was to receive $107 million.
However, many individuals were excluded from the deal to receive compensation, including anyone living behind the Iron Curtain and people who had been in hiding during the war.
One of the key individuals during the negotiations with Germany was Ben Ferencz, who passed away this past April. Not only was Ferencz the sole surviving negotiator for the Claim Conference, as Belle Jarniewski also pointed out, Ferencz was the last surviving prosecutor from the famed Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals. Ferencz is featured quite prominently in “Reckonings,” as he was able to give a first-hand account of what the negotiations were like.
The final agreement worked out between West Germany and Israel, on the one hand, and West Germany and the Claims Conference, on the other, came to be known as the Luxembourg Agreement. It has served as the basis for all subsequent agreements to compensate Holocaust victims by the German government.
Of the $90 billion that has been paid out in reparations since 1953, over 270,000 Holocaust survivors were among the first recipients of the initial $107 million paid in 1953. Since then, an additional 500,000 individuals have received payments. And, although the Luxembourg agreement was only intended to provide compensation to survivors in 1953, ever since then there have been regular negotiations between the German government and the Claims Conference, which have resulted in varying amounts being negotiated each time.
Insofar as Holocaust survivors who moved to Winnipeg are concerned – of whom there have been over 1500 individuals over the years, Belle Jarniewski explained the process through which they receive compensation from the German government.
In 1948 something called the United Restitution Office was established to help Holocaust survivors. (The Canadian office was founded in 1952.) The purpose of the office was to help survivors with individual claims. Case files were established for survivors, including claims and documentation describing difficulties survivors have encountered during their lifetimes. In 2022 those files were transferred to the care of the Jewish Heritage Centre.
Adeena Lungen (about whose role at JCFS helping Holocaust survivors we described in some detail in an article in our December 20, 2021 issue, which can be downloaded on our website – simply go to jewishpostandnews.ca and, under the “Search Archive” tab at the top, and enter Dec. 20, 2021 to download the complete issue. The article about Adeena is on page 3.), explained that JCFS has been working with Holocaust survivors in Winnipeg since 2000. Adeena has been serving in her role as Holocaust support services worker for the past 20 years, she noted.
Adeena noted that, in addition to compensation available from the German government for Holocaust survivors, other countries have, in recent years, also begun to offer compensation in certain cases. (For instance, in our two most recent issues we posted an advertisement for compensation now being offered to Jews who were former residents of Lithuania.) Other countries offering compensation now include France, Austria, Poland and Romania, Adeena added.
When asked how a survivor could go about proving that they are actually a Holocaust survivor (and there have been numerous bogus attempts over the years by individuals falsely claiming to be Holocaust survivors), Adeena described the steps JCFS, for instance, will take to verify someone’s claim, noting however that, while JCFS will do an initial assessment of someone’s claim, the final determination rests with the Claims Conference.
According to Adeena, a claimant must submit documents, such as identity papers from the country of origin.
Currently there are still 200,000 Holocaust survivors worldwide, of whom 150,000 have been receiving distributions from the Claims Conference. Adeena noted that new files are still being opened for Holocaust survivors. (Apparently there are still Holocaust survivors who have been unaware that they are eligible to receive compensation.)
In 2022, for instance, the Claims Conference was able to distribute $562 million to 150,000 individual Holocaust survivors. An additional $750 million was distributed to social welfare agencies worldwide, including JCFS. If you would like more information about compensation for Holocaust survivors, contact Adeena Lungen at firstname.lastname@example.org.