This is sad considering the real survivors need these funds.
09/11/2010US charges 17 in Holocaust claims fraud scheme
US authorities unveiled charges Tuesday against 17 people in a long-running scheme that fraudulently obtained some 42 million dollars from Holocaust compensation funds from Germany.
Federal prosecutors said the scheme between 2000 and 2009 resulted in the approval of some 5,500 fraudulent payments from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which administered the programs.
An indictment unsealed in New York said a network of individuals — including six employees who worked for the Claims Conference — systematically defrauded the fund, which was set up to compensate victims of Nazi persecution.
The insiders allegedly approved over 5,500 fraudulent applications, resulting in payouts to applicants who did not qualify for the programs. In exchange, these insiders kept a portion of the money for themselves and their co-conspirators.
“If ever there was a cause that you would hope and expect would be immune from base greed and criminal fraud, it would be the Claims Conference, which every day assists thousands of poor and elderly victims of Nazi persecution,” said US Attorney Preet Bharara in announcing the indictment.
“Sadly, those victim funds were themselves victimized.”
FBI assistant director Janice Fedarcyk said: “Each of the defendants played a role in creating, filing and processing fraudulent claims on behalf of non-qualifying applicants — and dividing up the spoils. Funds established and financed by the German government to aid Holocaust survivors were siphoned off by the greedy, and not paid out, as intended, to the worthy. This was a brazen miscarriage of the compensation programs.”
Officials said the Claims Conference, a not-for-profit organization that administers the program, approved fraudulent claims from the “Hardship Fund,” which provides a one-time payment of 3,600 dollars to victims of Nazi persecution who became refugees; and from the Article 2 Fund, which makes monthly payments to Nazi victims who live on less than 16,000 dollars per year.
Both programs are funded by the German government,
The defendants recruited other individuals to provide identification documents, such as passports and birth certificates, which were then fraudulently altered and submitted to “corrupt insiders,” investigators said.
But some of those who made claims were born after World War II, and at least one person was not even Jewish.
Eleven people were arrested Tuesday on the charges. Charges against five other people, four of whom have pleaded guilty, were unsealed in the same indictment.
The accused face up to 20 years in prison if convicted on charges of conspiracy, fraud and related charges.
- FBI charges 17 over ‘$42m theft’ of Holocaust survivor funds (telegraph.co.uk)
- The Plot to Cheat Germany’s Holocaust Survivors Fund (time.com)
Jewish women and children from Subcarpathian Rus who have been selected for death at Auschwitz-Birkenau, walk toward the gas chambers. [Photograph #77303]
192 photos of nameless faces of people just like us.
Jewish women and children from Subcarpathian Rus who have been selected for death at Auschwitz-Birkenau, walk toward the gas chambers.
The “Auschwitz Album” is an album of photographs documenting the arrival, selection and processing of one or more transports of Jews from Subcarpathian Rus (Carpatho-Ukraine), then part of Hungary, that came to Auschwitz-Birkenau in the latter half of May, 1944. Many of these Jews were deported from Berehovo, where Jews from neighboring towns and villages were gathered at a brick factory. The album, which includes 193 photographs mounted on 56 pages, was taken by SS-Hauptscharführer Bernhardt Walter, head of the Auschwitz photographic laboratory known as the Erkennungsdienst [Identification Service] and his assistant, SS-Unterscharführer Ernst Hofmann. The album was produced as a presentation volume for the camp commandant. The photographs were arranged in the album by a prisoner named Myszkowski, who worked in the lab. He also decorated the volume and wrote captions for the pictures. The album was found after the liberation by Lili Jacob (later Zelmanovic, now Meier), herself an Auschwitz survivor who appears in one of the photographs. Lili came from Bilki, a town in Subcarpathian Rus that was annexed by Hungary in March, 1939. In the spring of 1944 her family was relocated to the ghetto in Berehovo. From there they were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau on a transport that departed on May 24, 1944. Lili, who was eighteen years old when she arrived in the camp, was the only member of her family to survive Auschwitz. At war’s end Lili was sick with typhus in the infirmary of the Nordhausen concentration camp. After the liberation American soldiers moved her to a nearby former SS barrack, where she came across the album of Auschwitz photographs while searching for some clothing. She decided to keep the album and took it with her to Prague, where she lived temporarily after the war. Lili allowed the Prague Jewish community to copy the images and produce a set of glass negatives. A selection of these photographs were subsequently included in The Tragedy of Slovak Jews, published in Bratislava in 1949. In 1955 these negatives were rediscovered in a Prague museum by two Czech researchers who were also Auschwitz survivors. After authenticating these images at the Auschwitz Museum, two sets of prints were made which were deposited at the Auschwitz Museum and at Yad Vashem. At this time the identity of the owner of the original album was unknown. Lili Jacob had in the meantime immigrated to the United States. In 1961 at the time of the Eichmann trial, she gave an interview to Parade magazine in which she described the Auschwitz album she had found. When members of the Auschwitz Museum heard about the interview they contacted her and received the missing information. The negatives found by the Czech researchers were used in the pre-trial investigations for the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials of 1963-1965. When the existence of the original album was make known, Lili was brought to Frankfurt to testify. Among the 22 SS defendants was the head of the photography laboratory, Bernhardt Walter. The Auschwitz album, however, did not receive widespread attention until Nazi-hunter Serge Klarsfeld convinced Lili to donate it to Yad Vashem in 1980 and, at the same time, undertook to publish the volume. The first edition of The Auschwitz Album, which appeared in August 1980, was produced by the Klarsfeld Foundation. The following year, a version intended for a broader audience was published by Random House. In 1994 the original album underwent restoration at Yad Vashem, and in 1999 it was digitally scanned. Some of the original photographs are missing; it is thought that they may have been given away by Lili to other survivors.
[Sources: http://www.yadvashem.org/exhibitions/album_auschwitz (2000); Swiebocka, Teresa, Auschwitz A History in Photographs. The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, 1993]
Date: May 1944
Locale: Auschwitz, [Upper Silesia] Poland; Birkenau; Auschwitz III; Monowitz; Auschwitz II
Photographer: Bernhardt Walter/Ernst Hofmann
Credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Yad Vashem (Public Domain)
Copyright: Public Domain
- I was 17 and surviving in the wild, but I’d fled humanity at its worst (thejc.com)
- Auschwitz museum won’t allow Irving to lead tour (jta.org)
- Letter of love from Holocaust survivor (thejc.com)
Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust is a book well worth reading. I’ve read it and I think highly of the book.
I don’ t have time to write a review right now, but here’s the PW writeup:
Goldhagen’s gripping and shocking landmark study transforms our understanding of the Holocaust. Refuting the widespread notion that those who carried out the genocide of Jews were primarily SS men or Nazi party members, he demonstrates that the perpetrators?those who staffed and oversaw the concentration camps, slave labor camps, genocidal army units, police battalions, ghettos, death marches?were, for the most part, ordinary German men and women: merchants, civil servants, academics, farmers, students, managers, skilled and unskilled workers. Rejecting the conventional view that the killers were slavishly carrying out orders under coercion, Goldhagen, assistant professor of government at Harvard, uses hitherto untapped primary sources, including the testimonies of the perpetrators themselves, to show that they killed Jews willingly, approvingly, even zealously. Hitler’s genocidal program of a “Final Solution” found ready accomplices in these ordinary Germans who, as Goldhagen persuasively argues, had absorbed a virulent, “eliminationist” anti-Semitism, prevalent as far back as the 18th century, which demonized the Jews and called for their expulsion or physical annihilation. Furthermore, his research reveals that a large proportion of the killers were told by their commanders that they could disobey orders to kill, without fear of retribution?yet they slaughtered Jews anyway. By his careful estimate, hundreds of thousands of Germans were directly involved in the mass murder, and millions more knew of the ongoing genocide. Among the 30 photographs are snapshots taken by the murderers of themselves and their victims.
1I am a german and for me this sounds like it could have been that way. The nazi regime was very good at propaganda. It should be a warning for the civilized world that even a well educated first world country can be victim to a radical ideology. The time after world war I was of course a very hard time in germany and people are more likely to follow false prophets in such times.
Posted by: Arnd | September 17, 2010 3:11 AM
I wish you would cease calling these people Christians. Like
the creationists, Hitler’s willing followers were people who
perverted everything that Christianity stands for.
Posted by: William O. Romine Jr. | September 17, 2010 9:16 AM
I’m three-quarters German. I had relatives here in the US who went to German school, read German newspapers, sang German patriotic songs, and joined the Bund, remaining loyal to Germany even after the declaration of war. All those men went into the Army, serving in the Pacific Theater.
After the collapse of the Third Reich, many of them were still proud of Germany’s accomplishments during the war. It seems to be part of a cultural mindset that can be hard to fathom.
Posted by: 6EQUJ5 | September 17, 2010 9:28 AM
William, sorry, just being real. The anti-semitism of Europe was largely a Christian phenomenon, and it was going for a long time before the Nazi’s, who were nominally Christian and often more than nominally Christian, put a fine edge on it while the German Church sat by and watched or even participated. For me to ignore that would be dishonest. For you to ignore it would also be dishonest. As an Atheist, I can’t really find a way to be dishonest like that. As a Christian, perhaps you don’t find it so difficult. Just sayin’
- Hitler’s Willing (Christian) Executioners [Greg Laden’s Blog] (scienceblogs.com)
- Hitler’s (Christian) Pope [Greg Laden’s Blog] (scienceblogs.com)
- German Women’s Involvement In The Holocaust (oliverwillis.com)
- Death Marches and Extermination Camps (socyberty.com)
by Moshe Phillips
Follow Israel opinion on and .
Is this essay by Annan an isolated incident or does he have a track record of inappropriate action in regard to preserving the history of Holocaust?
In June a shockingly disturbing article about Holocaust education appeared in The New York Times online and The International Herald Tribune and was written by Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General of the United Nations. Annan questions the value of teaching about the Holocaust in the first place and deletes the memory of the Jewish victims from the Holocaust – not mentioning Jews one time.
Annan wrote: “it is surprisingly hard to find education programs that have clearly succeeded…” He then linked Holocaust education to other events. Annan declared that Holocaust education has failed to prevent genocidal campaigns “from Cambodia to the Congo, from Bosnia to Rwanda, from Sri Lanka to Sudan.”
Can Annan be blind to the fact that his beloved U.N. bears the largest portion of international blame for failing to prevent these post-World War Two tragedies?
Annan also wrote that “few teachers in any country have the knowledge or skills to teach the Holocaust in a way that would enable today’s adolescents … to relate..”
Here Annan missed the fact that Holocaust education has worked very well in Israel. As a direct result of that education process all Jewish Israelis, regardless of age, level of religious observance, political views or ethnic background, are completely united in their full support of their government to take whatever means necessary to stop Iran’s deployment of a nuclear weapons program.
Perhaps almost as shocking as Annan’s sudden attack on Holocaust education is the text of the article itself. Annan does not mention Jews or Judaism even once in nearly 800 words. Germany and Hitler are not mentioned either. See http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/18/opinion/18iht-edannan.html?_r=1 for the entire article.
Annan has the chutzpah to conclude his screed with a veritable love note to Austria. He states “and it seems fitting that Austria – which provided both victims and perpetrators of Nazi atrocities in abundance – should be hosting a (Holocaust teacher training) program.”
Here Annan totally misses the ironic fact that Austria is the one nation in the post-World War Two period to elect a head of state that was accused of Nazi war crimes, Kurt Waldheim. Obviously Annan is familiar with Waldheim’s case. The two were colleagues at the U.N. and Waldheim preceded Annan in the Secretary General position there. That Annan failed to ever investigate Waldheim’s history at the U.N. is just one of in a long career of incompetence. To this day he official U.N. online biography of Waldheim ignores World War Two and the Holocaust entirely. See http://www.un.org/Overview/SG/sg4bio.html.
Is this essay by Annan an isolated incident or does he have a track record of inappropriate action in regard to preserving the history of Holocaust?
Annan claims in this article that he supported Holocaust education in 2005 when as U.N. Secretary General he “urged the General Assembly to pass a resolution on Holocaust Remembrance.”
However, remarks made at the time the Holocaust Remembrance resolution was passed also ignore the connection of the Holocaust to the Jewish People. A November 1, 2005 “Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on General Assembly Resolution on Holocaust Remembrance” was 107 words. There is no reference to Jews. See http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2005/sgsm10197.doc.htm.
The official UN news article from November 1, 2005 failed to mention Jews at all. See http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=16431&Cr=holocaust&Cr1.
It is worth recalling that not a single Muslim nation other than Turkey supported the Holocaust Remembrance Resolution. Can one imagine that happening now? Annan apparently could not have cared less about the Resolution at the time. Annan was either unable or unwilling to see to it that his native Ghana supported the Resolution either. He gave a speech of over 780 words the night the Resolution was passed at the “King Hussein Foundation inaugural peace-builders dinner.” There was not a single remembrance” of the Holocaust included in Annan’s remarks.
One more aside: Ninety countries supported the Resolution, but not one “moderate Islamic Arab” country such as Egypt, Morocco or King Hussein’s Jordan signed on. Well before 2005 Egypt, Morocco and Jordan had all signed peace agreements with Israel. Just what kind of peace does Israel have with these nations if they refuse to acknowledge that the Holocaust needs to be remembered? And that is even with the fact that the actual wording of the original resolution itself mentioned Jews just once in an over 500 word text:
Reaffirming that the Holocaust, which resulted in the murder of one third of the Jewish people along with countless members of other minorities, will forever be a warning to all people of the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice…
Given the fact that Holocaust deniers often argue that less than six million Jews were murdered during World War Two, was it just a coincidence that the term “six million” was not used? See http://www.unclef.com/holocaustremembrance/docs/res607.shtml.
Annan is often considered to have been a fair arbiter in the Israel-Arab conflict. This is a naïve reading of Annan’s track record and his professional alliances. As the maxim states: A man is known by the company he keeps.
Annan’s longtime colleagues in the self-appointed (and self-righteous) group of elites called The Elders that is funded in part by the United Nations Foundation. The Elders seem like a rogue’s gallery of Israel’s harshest critics. Included as part of The Elders are Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter and Mary Robinson. For more on Mary Robinson see http://frontpagemag.com/2010/06/21/allied-in-anti-semitism-%E2%80%93-the-irish-connection/.
In the post Annan era the way the U.N. has related to the Jewish People and the Holocaust has worsened considerably.
One example is that Ban Ki-moon’s 2010 official statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day did not mention Jews.
Another example is the honors that Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (who sponsored the December 2006 International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust) received at the U.N. in September 2007. Annan and Ban Ki-moon have repeatedly worked to keep Ahmadinejad from being marginalized. Ban Ki-moon stated on December 14, 2006:
(D)enying historical facts, especially such a very important historical fact as the Holocaust, is not acceptable. It is not acceptable. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan himself visited Iran and had a series of dialogues with the Iranian leadership and other senior-level people. Wherever and when, and if the situation requires me to do, I am also prepared to engage in dialogue with the Iranian leadership.”
In the full version of his December 14 remarks, Ban Ki-moon again avoided any mention of Jews. See http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2006/sg2120.doc.htm.
Still another recent example is the controversy that erupted when Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann was the President of the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly from September 2008 to September 2009. Brockmann compared Israel’s treatment of Gazans to Nazi atrocities against Jews. See http://www.haaretz.com/news/host-of-un-holocaust-memorial-skips-event-after-u-s-jews-threaten-walk-out-1.268965.
Brockmann’s successor as General Assembly President, a Libyan (!) diplomat named Ali Abdussalam Treki, stated that Israel’s Gaza blockade “is worse than the camps of the Nazis in the past.” And this was weeks before the Flotilla episode. See http://www.memritv.org/clip_transcript/en/2460.htm.
The next person in line for the presidency is Switzerland’s Joseph Deiss. Deiss is a longtime critic of Israel. In 2001 when he was Switzerland’s Foreign Minister, Deiss met with Yasser Arafat’s aides and condemned Israel for settlement activity and “a blockade of Palestinian areas.”
Annan’s attack on Holocaust education was published just as the U.N. was generating headlines for condemning Israel for the Gaza Flotilla episode. What was behind the timing of this article?
The Israel bashers do not want to give up the powerful imagery of the Holocaust so they transform it and remove the Jews. This allows The Elders and others to recast the Gazans as victims and the Israelis as the war criminals. This is especially outrageous when one recalls that the father of modern Arab anti-Jewish violence was Mohammad Amin al-Husseini , the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem from 1921–1948. He was an important ally of the Nazis and helped recruit thousands of Muslims for Waffen SS units in Bosnia.
And so, what is there to learn from Kofi Annan’s Holocaust problem and the U.N.? Over the last several years it has been popular to speak about nations that are in internal disarray as “failed states.” It is now past time to declare the U.N. a “failed institution.” If the U.N. cannot be reformed it must be marginalized. And the sooner, the better. Moreover, the U.N. controlled Quartet on the Middle East project and led by Special Envoy Tony Blair must be re-evaluated given the U.N.’s Holocaust problem and its funding of The Elders.
“If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’re going to keep getting what we’re getting,” says Stephen Covey. If we fail to reform the U.N. these outrages won’t just continue, they will get worse.
This article appeared originally in American Thinker: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/07/kofi_annans_holocaust_problem.html
Moshe Phillips is a member of the executive committee of the Philadelphia Chapter of Americans for a Safe Israel / AFSI. The chapter’s website is at: http://www.phillyafsi.com . Moshe’s blog can be found at http://phillyafsi.blogtownhall.com and Moshe tweets at http://twitter.com/MoshePhillips.
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