THE CLAIMS CONFERENCE, GLOBAL INITIATIVES FOR HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS AND A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE
Gregory Schneider was appointed Executive Vice President of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) in 2009. A passionate advocate for Holocaust survivors, he joined the Claims Conference in 1995 as an assistant to the then Executive Vice President, becoming Director of Allocations and Chief Operating Officer.
Mr. Schneider has overseen the creation and implementation of several Claims Conference individual compensation payment programs for Jewish victims of Nazism. Chief among these was the Program for Former Slave and Forced Laborers, which paid $1.6 billion to 173,000 Holocaust survivors in 87 countries, the result of distributing and processing applications in eight languages, working with hundreds of local organizations worldwide that assisted applicants, and helping document tens of thousands of claims that otherwise would have been deemed ineligible. Mr. Schneider also guided the creation of many additional programs to compensate victims such as the victims of Nazi medical experiments, former refugees to Switzerland, survivors of the Nazi occupation of Budapest, first-ever one-time payments to Nazi victims in the former Soviet Union, child survivors, and Kindertransport survivors.
He has overseen negotiations with the German government that have substantially liberalized eligibility criteria for direct compensation programs, fundamentally altering their contours and enabling tens of thousands of additional victims to receive payments. Through its various compensation programs, the Claims Conference will distribute approximately €340 million ($380 million) in direct payments to over 60,000 Holocaust survivors in 83 countries, bringing the total funding from Germany, through the Claims Conference, for Holocaust survivors, to over €864 million (about $967 million).
Mr. Schneider has guided the Claims Conference’s Institutional Allocations Program since its inception in 1995, facilitating its growth from $90 million allocated annually in 24 countries to $587 million allocated for 2020 to benefit 132,000 Nazi victims in 47 countries. Since 2011, he has facilitated the preparation for ongoing negotiations with the German government that have resulted in dramatic increases in funding for home care for Holocaust victims. The growth of these allocations has enabled pioneering care for Nazi victims as they age and require more assistance.
In addition, under his leadership, the Claims Conference is a leader in funding Holocaust education from teacher training programs to archival preservation and accessibility to Holocaust film. Further, the Claims Conference has released a series of Holocaust Knowledge and Awareness Studies globally. These studies have been receiving global media attention due to results showing a general lack of Holocaust knowledge and have led to growing momentum for greater Holocaust education in the United States, Canada and now Austria.