Jewish Elderly Nazi Victims: A Synthesis of Comparative Information on Hardship and Need in the United States, Israel, and the Former Soviet Union

Publication Date: April 2004

Publisher: Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies

Author(s): Andrew Hahn; Shahar Hecht; Tom Leavitt; Leonard Saxe; Elizabeth Tighe; Amy L. Sales

Research Area: Social conditions

Keywords: Holocaust; Social Services; Allocations

Type: Report


Despite the impossibility of full compensation for the deprivations suffered as a result of Nazi terror, efforts to provide health, social, and welfare support to victims have brought a measure of justice for many victims. Decisions on how best to allocate available restitution funds among groups of victims require the wisdom of Solomon. The present report is designed to aid decision-making by using available data to analyze the status of victims in the three regions, including regional comparisons among victim populations, comparisons of the characteristics of victims to other elderly Jewish populations in each of the countries, and evaluations of the countries on a variety of macro indicators. The key finding of our analyses is that Nazi victims in the FSU are clearly more disadvantaged than victims in the United States and Israel. The limitations we faced in conducting this study reflect a larger problem, however, in the state of research. The search for reliable estimates for the Jewish population, the elderly Jewish population and victims is more difficult than it should be. One recommendation is that more resources should be invested in better data, greater analytic capacity, and open exchange of available information.