Officials: $42 Million Stolen From Holocaust Fund
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
NPR's Margot Adler reports.
MARGOT ADLER: Preet Bharara is the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York.
BLOCK: More than $42 million that was intended for Holocaust survivors instead found its way into the pockets of corrupt employees of the Claims Conference and an elaborate network of fraudsters, as the charging documents describe.
ADLER: Gregory Schneider is the executive vice president of the Claims Conference. He says he feels relieved that the people responsible have been apprehended and gratitude to the FBI and the U.S. attorney's office.
BLOCK: What's important is that we identified it, documented it, went to law enforcement. It's obviously a deep betrayal. But we will not be deterred from our core mission, which is to help Holocaust survivors, particularly in these final years.
ADLER: George Foldi(ph) is 85 years old. He was in three concentration camps and at 19, when he was liberated, he weighed 75 pounds, had typhus and double pneumonia. He says he has received about $5,000 in reparations. He says he has had two serious strokes. He says, I'm not supposed to get angry because of my heart.
BLOCK: I'm not supposed to say that, but I'd like to pick up a Kalashnikov.
ADLER: But then he says philosophically...
BLOCK: Nothing new.
ADLER: He remembers being naked, waiting three days for clothes, back in 1945, clothes meant for survivors, and finding that the best clothes were being sold on the black market. He says Holocaust survivors are used to poor treatment.
BLOCK: They are stealing from the lowest, the poorest, the sickest. We are all old now. We have ill health, all the way through, during the remaining of our lives. That wound never heals.
ADLER: Margot Adler, NPR News, New York.
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