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On September 10, 1952, the state of Israel and a new Jewish organization, created to represent “world Jewry in its material claims against Germany,” signed a post-war reparation and compensation agreement with West Germany. Neither the world’s Jewish communities, still devastated after the Holocaust, nor those in the state of Israel, which was still struggling to survive after only four years of independence, noticed the dangerous legal precedent created on that day. Twenty-three leaders of major Jewish organizations took it upon themselves to represent, in perpetuity, the six million Jews murdered in the Holocaust, as well as the hundreds of thousands of survivors and their decedents, in their material claims against Germany.

It is this precedent that came to haunt the Jewish world almost forty years later when in 1990 “The Claims Conference” and the World Jewish Congress, using this post-war legal precedent, started a public campaign “in the name of the victims”, to restore looted Jewish properties to their rightful owners. These two organizations, by their own words, have succeeded in amassing close to twenty billion dollars. In the Name of the Victims tells the disturbing story of how some of this astronomical sum was raised. These organizations’ legal acrobatics have left thousands of survivors bitter and resentful towards the very organizations that were supposed to act in their name. But even more shocking is where some of these billions went, and how, despite these astronomical sums, thousands of holocaust survivors in Israel and in the United States are ending their lives in utter poverty and humiliation.


Interview with director Ilan Ziv

"In the Name of the Victims," directed by Ilan Ziv, is an infuriating and shaming must-see film that should be broadcast at the beginning of newscasts, and also justifies a commission of inquiry." 
-Tom Segev

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For more resources!

claims conference letter

ilan Ziv's response to the claims conference letter

ZDF response


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