PEPPER PIKE, Ohio — A Northeast Ohio organization is among those around the world receiving funding to aid Holocaust survivors. Wednesday, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany, known as the Claims Conference, announced $720 million to be allocated to at least 300 organizations globally.
The Jewish Family Service Association (JFSA) of Cleveland, located at 29125 Chagrin Blvd. in Pepper Pike, is receiving $5.2 million, which is one of the largest U.S. grants from the Claims Conference.
“We do everything possible to identify the survivors, identify their needs and as they age in place, continue to provide the services that they need to do so with dignity and safety,” said Sherry Sax, the grants officer at JFSA.
Sax explained the organization started offering services in the mid-1990s, including assistance for around 1,200 holocaust survivors around Northeast Ohio. Today, around half of those survivors still rely on JFSA resources.
“Even though we have this kind of shrinking population, the needs of the people are growing higher and higher and higher,” said Jaime Lowy, the associate director of caring at home at JFSA.
In a release, Claims Conference President Gideon Taylor said, “We are proud to announce this significant allocation at a time when these funds are critical, due to the age, poverty and increasing disability of our waning survivor population, and as they also continue to face the ongoing uncertainty and threat of COVID-19. We know these funds provide vital support during these difficult times.”
According to Lowy and Sax, 90 percent of the funding JFSA receives will go toward in-home support, like home health aides, skilled nursing and house cleaning. The remaining funds will help cover costs of transportation to healthcare appointments, case management, social programs and more.
“We work together to provide the care not only what they need, but in the way that they need it so that it doesn't trigger bad memories or serve as obstacles to getting the care,” Sax said.
The $720 million is the largest amount ever allocated for the Claims Conference in a single year. Since 1951, the organization has been negotiating compensation with the German government for the suffering and loss caused by Nazi persecution during WWII. It estimates this year’s funds will reach approximately 120,000 through grants and partner organizations worldwide.
“I think it’s such an important thing for the survivors to always feel that they matter and they really do,” said Lowy.
In 2021, the Claims Conference distributed $653 million USD in grants to over 300 social service agencies worldwide and this year the Claims Conference estimates that the funds, through the grants and partner organizations, will reach approximately 120,000 survivors.
Since 1952, the German government has paid more than $90 billion for individuals and groups through the Claims Conference.
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