We are relieved that the Tel Aviv Museum of Art withdrew from the Christie’s event branded “Reflections on Restitution.”
The Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA worked hard, from the outset of the controversy, to educate Christie’s leadership, to take a stand against glorifying the shameful history of Helmut Horten’s participation and profit from Nazi crimes against the Jewish people. Christie’s refused, and bought in to the narrative, which we’ve seen over and over, that the passage of time and the “charitable purposes” of the ex-Nazi’s foundation, made it OK for Christies’ to hold the sale. We even proposed an outcome that would have served to educate the public about what really happened, i.e. to use the proceeds of the sale to locate and compensate the heirs of the Jewish people whose properties Horten looted, and use the remainder to provide for survivors in need around the world. They refused.
This episode should send a clear message to all auction houses, museums, and private collectors that every collection, and every sale, will be scrutinized. The passage of time cannot be allowed to sanitize the Nazis’ crimes against the Jewish people. The Nazis and their collaborators robbed and killed millions of Jewish people in the pursuit of power and a hateful ideology. Billions worth of looted assets remain in the wrong hands today, while families are forced to fight powerful institutions to recover their legacies. To make matters much worse, tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors live in poverty and cannot afford the services needed for health and dignity after all they suffered.
The Horten-Christie’s playbook of rewriting history to deny the essential facts of the Holocaust, and even citing profiteers’ current “charitable purposes,” has been used again and again by Holocaust profiteers to avoid the accountability that history and morality require. These include global insurers such as Allianz and Generali, who have avoided repaying the vast bulk of their unpaid insurance policies by minimizing or denying the facts about their conduct, and misrepresenting their track record of restitution – with the support of the U.S. State Department no less! Families seeking to recover looted artworks also face egregious distortions of history by museums, collectors, and even governments, such as Spain’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation (fighting the Cassirer family of California), who trivialize the Holocaust to justify holding onto Nazi loot.
Let the Tel Aviv Museum’s commendable decision signal the end to this damnable practice among governments, institutions, and people who are willing to participate in whitewashing Holocaust perpetrators, collaborators, and profiteers, for power, money, and prestige.
David Schaecter, President
Joined by the Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA Executive Committee:
Dena Axelrod, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Magda Bader, Boston, MA
Esther Finder, Las Vegas, NV
Renee Firestone, Los Angeles, CA
Ella Frumkin, Los Angeles, CA
Jay Ipson, Richmond, VA
Vera Karliner, Miami Beach, FL
Annette Lantos, Washington, D.C.
Louise Lawrence-Israels, Wash. D.C
Steve Moskovic, New York, NY
Shirley Rubin, Boynton Beach, FL
Anita Schuster, Las Vegas, NV
Neal Schaecter, Miami, FL
Charles Srebnick, New York, NY
Agnes Vertes, Weston, CT
Thomas Weiss, M.D., Miami Beach, FL
Today is Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is occurring in 2020 during the very uncertain and dangerous coronavirus pandemic, with its terrible toll in human lives and suffering. Our hearts go out to all who have lost loved ones.
We are compelled to speak out about continuing injustices and at the same time, reflect on our survival, and the survival of the Jewish people, and share a common message of hope. It is our belief that the only way forward is to help each other, to rely on ourselves.
After a decade of incremental home care increases, Members of the Senate Select Committee on Aging cited evidence from its 2014 hearing that “the levels of home care funding by the Claims Conference would meet only 25% of the current needs of impoverished survivors.”
To make matters worse, emergency services funding has not increased at all.Samuel Dubbin before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary Hearing on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2019
On Tuesday, September 17, at 10:00 am, the United States Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the subject of unpaid Holocaust Era Insurance Claims. Further info and a stream of the hearing are available at the Senate Judiciary Committee website. HSF submitted the materials attached in the document below to Senate Judiciary Chair Lindsey Graham on Friday, September 13.
It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Mark E. Talisman, Founding Vice Chairman of the US Holocaust Memorial Council and beloved friend. Mark was appointed to the Council by President Carter and served as Vice Chairman from 1980-1986.
We share our love and condolences with Mark’s wife, Jill Talisman, daughter Jessica Talisman, granddaughter Colby Herman and grandson Gus Herman, son Rafi and daughter in law Karma Talisman, and grandson Sascha Talisman.
The Times of Israel Obituary for Mark Talisman
Mark Talisman, a tireless advocate for the Holocaust survivor community, passed away last night.
Mark was loved and respected for being a strong and tenacious fighter for long delayed justice.
I was proud to call him an amigo.
May his memory be a blessing.
— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) July 12, 2019
A few weeks ago, our friend and recently retired Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, gave a magnificent speech to the leadership of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, in which she was very clear about the imperative for governmental and community leadership to be more responsive to Holocaust survivors rights, needs and interests. She also spoke eloquently about the importance of steadfast support for the State of Israel in these perilous times. The Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA is extremely grateful for Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen’s commitment to Holocaust survivors and the safety and security of the State of Israel.
David Schaecter, HSF-USA President
As Holocaust survivors and descendants of Holocaust survivors, we are outraged and saddened that, once again, a Jewish community was brazenly attacked during worship services on Shabbat, which was also the last day of Passover. We send our deepest condolences to all affected by this tragedy, and prayers of healing and for a full recovery — refuach shelayma — to all.
“No One Should Be Gunned Down During Worship” — New York Times
“In the past 6 weeks, Churches, Mosques, a Synogogue have been attacked” — CNN
‘It Couldn’t Happen Here’ Is Proved Wrong, Again — the algemeiner
Holocaust memorial ceremony comes a day after shooting in California — Miami Herald
Read the full PDF:
HSF Response to Claims Conference 2018