Jack Rubin’s Testimony to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs
September 18, 2014
This past May, the Administration’s Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, and her colleagues, travelled to South Florida to meet with the survivor community, the adult children of survivors many of whom are caretakers, and the Jewish Family and Children’s’ Services professionals who have the prime responsibility to administer what little funds exist for survivors. These meetings took place in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, and West Palm Beach. I am proud that in each community the survivors and family members were united in our report: there is simply not enough funding available to meet the needs that we know about much less the problems faced by so many destitute survivors too embarrassed to seek help.
While we were encouraged by the caring attitude that the Administration’s people brought, we are very concerned that their agenda is far too limited, i.e. focused solely on making federal programs work better for survivors. Well, that is a laudable and long overdue goal, and we offered what support we could. However, it would be tragic of the Administration lost sight of the big picture and the urgency of the needs of survivors today which can only be addressed by substantial increases in funding from Germany and other culpable Holocaust countries and profiteers. We implored the White House representatives to urge the President and Vice President to take a leadership position and bring our concerns to Chancellor Merkel personally.
We know social service agencies and local leaders throughout the United States charged with the responsibility to provide care for survivors have to manage with insufficient resources. But their hands seem to be tied when it comes to the most significant obstacles facing survivors. Why don’t they speak up and support the survivors seeking to hold Germany responsible for providing the complete current amounts of funds survivors desperately need. Why do retired German WWII veterans and even SS officers receive ample pensions and complete health care coverage, when Holocaust survivors are forced to choose between paying for food or medicine, and cannot pay for dental care, home care, utilities, home care, and other basic needs? This isn’t right.
Maybe, after this hearing and the Committee’s work, the White House will immediately build on the acknowledgement that the needs are great, and use its unique authority to deliver the comprehensive financial support that survivors need and deserve.