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More help for ageing Holocaust survivors

Aged services support for Holocaust survivors in Australia has received a significant boost with three service providers securing USD $10.7 million from the Claims Conference in 2015.

Every year the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany negotiates with the German Government for compensation payments and aid to victims of the Nazi genocide.

Claims Conference president Julius Berman said the grants represented a doubling of funding allocated to Australian organisations supporting the special needs of this ageing cohort.

Jewish Care Victoria, JewishCare NSW and COA Sydney each received a grant in 2015, with COA Sydney specifically targeting food programs for Holocaust victims.

Jewish Care Victoria received the largest share of the funding (USD $7.8 million), which the organisation said will be used to expand services and deliver additional home care, social support and medical and dental assistance to survivors.

Jewish Care Victoria CEO Bill Appleby

Jewish Care Victoria CEO Bill Appleby

The organisation’s CEO Bill Appleby said its services supported over 600 Holocaust survivors in 2014 but many more required help.

Victoria is home to the second largest proportion of Holocaust survivors outside of Israel with approximately 3,350 Holocaust survivors living in the state.

“Jewish Care has always advocated extensively for the rights of our survivors and we continue to work closely in partnership with the Claims Conference to ensure Shoah survivors continue to live their life with the dignity and respect they deserve,” said Mr Appleby.

JewishCare NSW CEO Claire Vernon said her organisation secured $2.66 million in 2015, up from $1.7 million this year, which will be used to deliver increased hours of home support to those who need it.

Aid for 47 countries

In 2015, Claims Conference allocations to social service organisations around the world will total $365 million, an increase of $80 million — 21 per cent — over the 2014 amount, and will aid Holocaust victims in 47 countries.

The money is used primarily for home care, the top social welfare priority for these survivors, but is also used for hunger relief, medical care, winter aid and transportation.

Mr Berman said increasing support for home care has been an urgent priority for more than a decade during negotiations with Germany.

“It is important to understand that while the number of Jewish victims of Nazism dwindles every year, the day-to-day needs of the ageing and ever frailer victims continue to increase,” he said.

Mr Berman said annual funding to social service organisations working with survivors is based on the projected unmet needs organisations have reported to the Claims Conference.

In addition to German Government funding, Claims Conference grants derive from proceeds from recovering Jewish properties in the former East Germany, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, the Austrian government and the Swiss Banks Settlement.

Related AAA coverage: Responding to trauma 

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