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Restitution Services for holocaust survivors

The GTA is home to an aging population of Holocaust survivors. Most are in their late eighties and nineties; many coping with isolation, lack of resources and deteriorating health. While much of the Survivor population living in the GTA receives some form of Restitution funding from Germany or Poland, some Survivors are still not aware of their entitlement to these benefits; or unfortunately,  access fewer benefits than to which they are entitled. Receiving Restitution payment(s) not only improves the quality of life of the Survivor but also grants the Survivor the official status of “Jewish Nazi Victim” (JNV). With this status, Survivors are able to access specific community services and supports aimed at their needs; homecare, rental assistance and emergency financial assistance are just a few examples of programs to which Survivors with JNV status may be eligible.  As a community, it is our responsibility to ensure Survivors live the rest of their lives in dignity by offering the best care possible for the most the community’s vulnerable. Restitution is a part of that dignity in care.

The Holocaust Survivor Services Restitution program at JF&CS is responsible for providing information, supports and short-term case management for Holocaust survivors and their immediate families seeking restitution, compensation and pension funds. 

Restitution Assistance for Survivors through the JF&CS Restitution program includes:

  • Documentation: interviewing clients and documenting stories of persecution, providing support through a trauma informed lens to those who feel overwhelmed recalling their persecution history.

  • Application: screening clients’ eligibility for Restitution and other Holocaust Survivor services, assistance with the application process for restitution funds based upon the individual history and follow up with relevant bodies until the client receives funding. Assistance is also provided for a widowed spouse of a Survivor who may be eligible for a payment based on successor status.

  • Appeal: assistance in appealing a negative response in specific circumstances in order to support the Survivor to receive the benefits to which they are eligible.

  • Explanation: helping clients navigate through correspondence from Germany and Poland. This may include assistance with the “identity verification” process.

  • Advocacy: corresponding with the Claims Conference, German and Polish restitution and pension institutions on behalf of the clients.

  • Referrals and short term case management: clients are provided with information about benefits and services available to Survivors and may be referred to different agencies/programs in the community based upon their eligibility and needs identified through assessment.

  • Language accessibility: services are provided when available in English, Hebrew and Russian.

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