Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) today was joined by Holocaust survivors and community activists to urge Chief Judge Edward Korman of the Eastern District of New York to distribute $10 million of the $1.25 billion in the Swiss bank claims settlement to construct an assisted living facility for Holocaust survivors in Boro Park, Brooklyn. Nadler made the following statement at a press conference today at the United States Courthouse for the Eastern District of New York:
“On Friday, April 16th, Special Master Judah Gribetz will make his recommendations to Chief Judge Edward Korman for the distribution of some of the $1.25 billion in the Swiss bank settlement. I strongly urge that part of this money be distributed to needy survivors who live in New York City. The largest concentration of these Holocaust survivors is in Boro Park Brooklyn, and these survivors deserve to live in dignity in their twilight years.”
“There can be no doubt that there are many needy survivors around the world, especially in the former Soviet Union. But this fact does not detract from the particular needs of this specific community. There are 30,000 survivors living in Brooklyn, and more than 7000 of them live below the Federal poverty level. While it is perhaps true that the Boro Park survivors may be considered relatively better off than some other survivors, they nevertheless still live in poverty. This is simply not acceptable. It is time for the Swiss Settlement Fund and the Claims Conference to give its due to the aging survivors who are in desperate need, cannot make ends meet, and desperately need social services and a roof over their head.”
“Time is of the essence. Every year more and more survivors leave this world. According to a report in 2000 by the Special Master, it is estimated that the average Holocaust survivor in the United States is 84 years old, and their numbers are projected to fall by 6 to 8 percent each year through the end of the decade and faster thereafter. A residential community for Holocaust survivors needs to be constructed in Boro Park, Brooklyn now. I urge Judge Korman to fund the Pesha Elias Bikur Cholim D'Bobov proposal and establish a residential community in Boro Park for Holocaust Survivors. The proposed facility would serve approximately 5,000 survivors a year through offsite services, home assistance, and day care programming. Building this facility in Boro Park would preserve the dignity of our Holocaust survivor population and provide them with housing, recreational programs, social services, medical care and daily hot meals in a familiar community.
“It would be a shame, if we, the beneficiaries of theses survivors’ brave and heroic struggle against tyranny and persecution, let them down at a moment when they are most vulnerable. We do so by failing to proceed swiftly and aggressively with this important project. These survivors are merely asking for a facility that allows them to live their final years in dignity - one that does justice to their legacy. I urge Chief Judge Korman to approve funding for this project from the Swiss Bank claims settlement. Thank you.”