February 16, 2007

Another day another holocaust museum

Back to the Jewish Chronicle for an article attacking the holocaust industry. Norman Finkelstein drew a lot of flak over his exposé of the way money is drummed up for lawyers and zionists by the exploitation of suffering. Now criticism of the same thing is part of mainstream discourse. Mira Bar Hillel writes of how the ageing survivors of the holocaust are being denied funds that are rightfully theirs:
To their injury insult is added in the form of the thriving Holocaust commemoration industry. Last August, the world’s 58th Holocaust museum opened in Norway. This means there is now approximately one museum for every 1,000 poverty-stricken survivors. Perhaps this is why, on a recent visit to Israel, one of them said to me: “Alive, we are a nuisance; dead, we are an asset. They just want us to die as quickly as possible so that they get on with commemorating us lavishly — with our own money.”
And you remember all that kerfuffle over European banks and other corporations withholding holocaust assets from their true owners? Well check this:
JC readers will be familiar with criticisms of the Claims Conference, set up to help allocate the $1.25 billion which was finally given up by the Swiss Banks in 1998 after a long battle with a high media profile. The Conference also handles further billions agreed with the governments of Germany, France and Austria, five of the leading insurance companies in Europe, and a number of major German corporations, all of which signed a settlement with the United States government and Jewish organisations to return assets and to compensate Holocaust victims. But the money was not given to the victims themselves, and much of it is not reaching them.

The Swiss money was transferred to Brooklyn Federal Court and Judge Edward R Korman. According to Ha’aretz, by the end of 2006 only $400 million had actually been distributed. “Several Jewish organisations and the State of Israel have already begun fighting over the remaining sum,” the newspaper reported.

And Israeli banks are as guilty as the Swiss were of denying money from accounts opened by Holocaust victims before the war. Last month, research conducted by Sidney Zabludoff, an American economist and former employee of the US Treasury Department, found that only a fifth of the assets taken from Jews had been returned to their rightful owners since 1945. Zabludoff says that the total value is now $115-$175 billion.


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