Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Holocaust Claims Group Appoints Ombudsman

The organization that manages billions of dollars of Holocaust reparations payments voted to appoint an independent ombudsman.

The decision on the ombudsman came Wednesday at a board of directors meeting.

It follows years of complaints in the Jewish community that the Claims Conference has not been adequately responsive to inquiries of survivors and their families. It also comes a year after the discovery of a $40 million fraud at the Claims Conference involving several employees. Claims Conference leaders worked with law-enforcement authorities to uncover and investigate the fraud.

It’s not yet clear exactly what the ombudsman’s role will be at the Claims Conference; that’s to be defined within the next two months.

The ombudsman should be “a person of stature and probity, with unquestioned integrity, who is neither a recipient of funds from the Claims Conference, nor has any connection to any member organization of the Claims Conference,” the board said in its resolution on Wednesday.

Many of the representatives on the Claims Conference’s board come from organizations that are themselves recipients of grants from the Claims Conference. In the past, the Claims Conference has said board members recuse themselves from decisions regarding grants to their own organizations.

This week, the board also expressed “complete confidence in the leadership and management of the Claims Conference.” The current executive vice president of the Claims Conference is Gregory Schneider.

The chairman of the Claims Conference, Julius Berman, told JTA before the vote that the idea was to bring in “an ombudsman that is not beholden to any of the organizations or to management or to me or to Greg – an ombudsman that is way above and beyond everyone else.”

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.