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Deborah Lipstadt Slams Claims Conference Leaders Over Handling of Fraud Probe

Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt has lashed out at the leaders of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany over their handling of a $57 million fraud case.

“The Claims Conference conducted a self-audit, recovered a miniscule bit of the money, and declared victory,” she wrote dismissively on a new Jewish Facebook group that launched June 26.

Lipstadt suggested that senior Claims Conference officials ought to lose their posts because of the fraud and their botched investigation into the crime — but predicted that no heads will roll.

“No one will resign. No one will admit that they screwed up… big time,” Lipstadt wrote.

Lipstadt noted in the Facebook post that she is a “great fan” of the Claims Conference for its support of survivors and historians.

She said the Claims Conference funded the translation of portions of her website, Holocaust Denial on Trial, into Arabic, Farsi, Russian, and Turkish.

“I remain tremendously grateful to The Claims Conference for this and other important educational and humanitarian work it has done,” Lipstadt said.

Nevertheless, she added that she was “devastated” by recent reports in the Forward and other news outlets that Claims Conference officials were warned about the fraud in 2001 but did not discover its existence until 2009.

“To paraphrase a famous line uttered at a Senate hearing many decades ago, have they lost all sense of decency, if not just shame?” Lipstadt said.

Lipstadt’s decision to go public with her stand on the issue follows earlier calls on Claims Conference leaders to explain themselves more fully by World Jewish Congress president Ronald Lauder and by Natan Sharansky, executive chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel.

Contact Paul Berger at berger@forward.com or on Twitter @pdberger

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