Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Barack Obama Signs ‘No Social Security for Nazis’ Act

President Obama signed into law a bill that ends Social Security payments to former Nazis.

The “No Social Security for Nazis Act” Obama signed Thursday was passed unanimously by both chambers in Congress earlier this month.

The measure closes a loophole that had allowed ex-Nazis who lied about their past when immigrating to the United States — and had been identified and deported by the Justice Department — to continue receiving Social Security and other government benefits.

News of the continued benefits was uncovered in October when The Associated Press published an expose. There are at least four living beneficiaries, including Jakob Denzinger, a former guard at Auschwitz. Denzinger, 90, lives in Croatia, where he receives approximately $1,500 a month in Social Security payments. Separately, Congress last week allocated $2.5 million to assist impoverished Holocaust survivors as part of an omnibus funding bill. Obama signed the $1.1 trillion bill Tuesday.

The Obama administration, together with Florida lawmakers Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Democrat and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican, have been pushing for extra programs and funding to assist the survivors. The Jewish Federations of North America, which has led lobbying and fundraising to meet the needs of the survivors, praised the allocation of the funds.

“Because of this action, we will be able to continue to provide valuable services that survivors are unable to find elsewhere,” Mark Wilf, who chairs the JFNA effort on behalf of survivors, said in a statement. The Obama administration also launched a drive to recruit volunteers to assist survivors through the federal anti-poverty volunteer program, Americorps-VISTA.

According to JFNA, there are about 113,000 Holocaust survivors in the United States, of which about 25 percent live below the poverty line.

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.