BUCURESTI - 30 ianuarie 2006

Comunicat tip General in Social

More than 60 years after the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp, compensation awards and humanitarian assistance are still fostering post-war reconciliation.

As the world marks the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust today, more than 125,000 Holocaust survivors and other victims of National Socialism have been given compensation payments through two IOM programmes.

The German Forced Labour Compensation Programme (GFLCP), is co-funded by the German government and German industry, and the Holocaust Victim Assets Programme/Swiss Banks (HVAP), is funded through a US$ 1.25 billion Swiss Banks Settlement Fund under the administration of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Funds from the same donors has also allowed IOM to provide more than 73,000 elderly Sinti and Roma, Jehovah’s Witness, disabled and homosexual victims of the Nazi regime with multiple types of humanitarian assistance including food and hygiene packages and coal, as well as medical and legal support through its Humanitarian and Social Programmes (HSP). However this programme will end in March 2006 as funds have now run out.

“We were surprised by the tremendous impact these programmes had on the victims and their heirs,” reports Norbert Wühler, the Director of IOM’s Claims Programmes. “We continue to receive hundreds of letters, e-mails and telephone calls from survivors and beneficiaries who express their gratitude and who in particular appreciate the fact that their suffering was finally recognized.”

Lidia S., a former forced labourer from Bulgaria, said: ”The amount I received is greatly needed for medication and other expenses, but most of all to calm my soul. It is hard to remember the past but it is necessary.“ Robert P., a slave labourer from France, stated: “Today, we can say -yes, after 60 years we received recognition! I thank you in the name of all the people who suffered during the war. You helped all of us to put an end to that sad period.”

Through these Holocaust victim programmes IOM had to reach out to and identify potential claimants, develop and broadly distribute claim forms in numerous languages, provide claimant assistance, process the claims, notify the claimants and pay eligible claimants residing across the globe. Both claims programmes are scheduled for completion by 30 September 2006 and any funds that IOM has not been able to pay out until then must be returned to the donors. After this cut-off date, no additional payments can be made to eligible victims or their eligible legal successors/heirs.

Despre Organizatia Internationala pentru Migratie, Misiunea din Romania

IOM was created to help refugees and displaced persons in Europe after World War II. More than 60 years later, IOM has linked up to this history through its Holocaust compensation programmes. In the meantime, this work has expanded into a wider area of claims and compensation activities as an important component of peace building and post-conflict reconciliation. In the past five years, IOM has developed significant and unique experience in the area of claims and compensation services and the resolution of property disputes in post-conflict situations where it has been called upon to provide expert advice, technical assistance and capacity building.
Marie-Agnes Heine, Public Information Officer
IOM Claims Programmes, P.O. Box 71, CH-1211 Geneva