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ICHEIC's settlement agreements with various insurance companies and the German Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future" provided for funds to be made available for humanitarian purposes related to the Holocaust. Some of the funds were available immediately upon settlement. Additional funds became available through the passage of time or at the conclusion of claims processing and payment.

ICHEIC humanitarian funds were used for two broad categories of expenditures: payments on certain "humanitarian" claims, and funding of social welfare and education programs.

Humanitarian Claims Payments

Two humanitarian claims processes were funded from the ICHEIC humanitarian accounts.

The first humanitarian claims process (known as the 8a1 process for the section of the Memorandum of Understanding relating to this program) evaluated claims containing only anecdotal evidence referencing a Holocaust-era insurance policy, and for which no supporting documentation could be found. Payments of $1,000 were made on a per-claimant basis on claims that qualified for an award under this category. These payments are a symbolic acknowledgement of the fact that many claims cannot be substantiated today due to the ravages of war and the passage of time. ICHEIC made 31,284 offers totaling $31.28 million under the 8a1 process.

The second humanitarian claims process (known as the 8a2 process) covered claims on companies that were liquidated or nationalized after World War II and for which no present-day successor company could be identified. Awards in this humanitarian claims process were calculated in accordance with the ICHEIC Valuation Guidelines and were based on documentation submitted by claimants or discovered by ICHEIC through its research in European archives. ICHEIC made 2,874 offers totaling $30.54 million under this process.

In addition to these two humanitarian claims processes, humanitarian funds were used for special cases within the main claims process. These cases included top-up payments to raise the total payment on a policy to the minimum payment amount set by ICHEIC, as well as payments on policies previously paid into a blocked account.

Social Welfare and Education Programs

All organizations that have a mandate to allocate humanitarian funds received from restitution programs struggle with the proper balance of funding welfare programs for needy Nazi victims versus programs which goals are Holocaust remembrance, education or strengthening Jewish identity through exposure to the rich history and tradition of the Jewish culture, particularly that of the European Jews in the early 1900s. After much discussion and consideration, ICHEIC concluded that it was best to address the merits of each humanitarian program as presented, instead of a formulaic approach for the distribution of funds to social welfare versus other Holocaust related causes.

Most of the funds available for humanitarian purposes, other than the funds used to pay humanitarian claims awards, were designated to benefit needy Holocaust victims worldwide. However, it was ICHEIC's view that allocating some amount of humanitarian funds to support the strengthening of Jewish culture and heritage in recognition that the Nazis attempted to eradicate Jewish culture as well as the Jewish people, was a legitimate way of memorializing those Holocaust victims who did not survive.

Oversight and distribution of funds for the programs sponsored by ICHEIC were outsourced to the Claims Conference.


Social Welfare for Needy Holocaust Victims

In 2003, ICHEIC made a commitment to fund $132 million in social welfare benefits, including home care, for needy Jewish victims of Nazi persecution worldwide. The humanitarian funds received from the German Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future" was the source of funding for this program.

This initial commitment of $132 million will be disbursed over a seven year period, from 2003 to 2009. In March 2007, an additional $14 million of ICHEIC funds were committed to this program and will be fully disbursed by 2010.

ICHEIC Service Corps

In 2003, ICHEIC approved a pilot project to link university students with local Holocaust survivors in a program of home visits. The ICHEIC Service Corps provides service to those affected by the Holocaust and educational opportunities for the students to learn about the Holocaust. It also serves to strengthen Jewish identity and leadership in the undergraduate population by providing an opportunity to interact with the dwindling population of survivors.

The pilot is run by Hillel in New York City and by the University of Miami in Miami, Florida. It was launched in the fall semester of 2004.

The program will continue to be funded by ICHEIC through the 2009/10 academic year. In total, $1.8 million was committed to this program.

Initiative to Bring Jewish Cultural Literacy to Youth in the Former Soviet Union

This initiative, developed and administered by the Jewish Agency for Israel ("Jewish Agency") focuses on providing local FSU youth with an intensive multi-year two-week camping experience. The vast majority of the one million Jews who remain in the FSU today suffer from a lack of basic knowledge of their Jewish culture and heritage. On the whole, they are unaware of the Jewish life that thrived in the area before the Holocaust, and thus less equipped to forge their own Jewish identity and respond to growing external threats such as anti-Semitism. Although it is estimated that there are thousands of Holocaust survivors in the FSU today, their personal histories are unknown to the younger FSU generation. These survivors are a critical resource in educating about modern Jewish history and a rich source of Jewish knowledge and memory. They can play a critical role in giving FSU Jewish youth the building blocks of basic Jewish literacy and identification.

The initiative for building basic Jewish literacy for FSU youth through Holocaust education and awareness focuses on three educational components:

--Learning about pre-Holocaust Jewish communities in Eastern Europe as a means of building basic familiarity with Jewish culture and heritage.

--Creating personal relationships with Holocaust survivors to learn about the Holocaust and Jewish survival, and to solidify Jewish identification and commitment.

--Experiencing Jewish and Israeli culture as a means of helping youth develop their own form of Jewish expression.

The program was carried out in St. Petersburg during the summers of 2004 and 2005. The 2006 summer program was expanded to Moscow and in 2007 to Kiev. The three locations will serve about 1,800 children each summer. ICHEIC funding for the program is expected to extend through the summer of 2012. ICHEIC committed over $12 million to this program.

ICHEIC Program for Holocaust Education in Europe

This program, created and carried out by Yad Vashem, focuses on Holocaust education in Europe, with the goals of preserving the memory of the Holocaust and imbuing new generations with its lessons, as well as combating a new rise in anti-Semitism.

The program seeks to create an active network of inter-European Holocaust educators which meets, communicates, studies and works together to promote Holocaust education through local initiatives. Its goal is to widen the circle of qualified Holocaust educators throughout Europe who will support and implement educational programs.

The program, which began in March 2005, will continue to be funded by ICHEIC through at least 2020. ICHEIC committed over $12 million to this program.

March of the Living

ICHEIC provided a one-time grant of $500,000 to The March of the Living (MOL) in 2005. The MOL brings participants to Poland once a year for a symbolic march from Auschwitz to Birkenau to honor those who perished in the Holocaust. It is designed to educate Jewish youth about the crimes of the Nazis, and seeks to ensure that such destruction never happens again. The 2005 march commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Allied victory in the Second World War in Europe.

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