Posted Sunday, May 27, 2001

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Have you ever heard of the "goliath grouper"? Not likely -- even if you're a fisherman. Goliath grouper is the new name for a fish that, until now, was called a jewfish. -- Debbie (not Lipstadt) Schlussel

World Net Daily

May 26, 2001

Busted! -- The Holocaust Industry

Debbie Schlussel


HAVE you ever heard of the "goliath grouper"? Not likely -- even if you're a fisherman. Goliath grouper is the new name for a fish that, until now, was called a "jewfish."

It's a big deal to some American Jews and to an organization whose work is paramount to the North American existence -- the Committee of Names of Fishes of the American Fisheries Society.

This silly, unnecessary naming is big news. Yet, a class action lawsuit involving the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC) is not big news. And it should be.

ICHEIC was created by insurance companies to resolve their Holocaust-related insurance disputes with -- and to promptly pay out claims to -- Holocaust survivors. But, while some are whining over the unimportant name of an obscure fish, a very real tragedy is being committed against Holocaust survivors by ICHEIC: ICHEIC's endowment money is being spent to lavish its bureaucrats and Holocaust survivors are getting nothing.

That's the latest symptom of a tragedy born out of the Holocaust. The tragedy is the Holocaust industry. There are thousands of Holocaust professionals -- professors, museum curators, moviemakers, foundation fundraisers, book writers, television producers -- most of whom never experienced the Holocaust, but are making good money off of it and the backs of those who suffered it. It's not only big business, but -- in the case of ICHEIC -- a prime example of how many bureaucracies established with well-meaning intent grow into self-perpetuating, wasteful slush funds of powerful bureaucrats, with little to show for achieving their established purposes.

According to documents in a class-action lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, May 16, by Felicia Spirer Haberfeld, ICHEIC has spent 10 times ($30 million) more on administrative costs -- including salaries, luxury hotel bills, and newspaper ads -- than the $3 million it paid out to survivors. According to the Los Angeles Times, internal ICHEIC documents show that many of the distributions to Holocaust survivors have been as little as $500 on life insurance policies that have never been properly paid out and have large 2001 dollar values.

It's not surprising that ICHEIC is run in this appalling fashion. It's headed by a bureaucrat -- Lawrence Eagleburger, a State Department bureaucrat under Carter, Reagan, and Bush (who made him secretary of state). And he's running the ICHEIC the same way. While over 43 percent of Jews over the age of 60, today, are Holocaust survivors -- and over 20 percent of them live in poverty -- Eagleburger is living it up at their expense in hotels in London, Rome, Jerusalem, Washington and New York. Swanky hotels, like Washington's Willard Intercontinental and Rome's St. Regis Grand. While he offered only $500 to some survivors for policies on Nazi-murdered relatives, world traveler Eagleburger is paid $350,000 for his "services."

Spirer, the lawsuit's plaintiff and an Auschwitz, Poland native, is one of those offered that paltry payout of insurance policies -- purchased in the 1930s -- on the lives of her husband and daughter, who was a two-year-old when the Nazis murdered her. While Eagleburger continues his world-class adventures, and while people are whining about the Jewfish, Holocaust survivors -- most of whom are in their 70s or 80s -- are dying at a rate of 10 a month, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Then, there are Gerhard and Ursula Maschkowski, German Jewish survivors who were enslaved by Siemens Corporation. Their trouble is with another "business" in the Holocaust industry. They are living in poverty, while money owed to them by Siemens is controlled by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, known as "the Claims Conference." It negotiated compensation for Holocaust survivors from Germany, Austria, and many corporations, but like ICHEIC, the Claims Conference and its members are living large on that money. And like ICHEIC, it's a secretive bureaucracy whose members live and travel lavishly, paying Holocaust survivors almost nothing. Or, in the Maschkowskis' case, absolutely nothing. While the Maschkowskis and millions of others toiled as slaves for years, amid starvation, Nazi-torture and murder, and the whole host of Holocaust horrors, they get nothing while several mostly liberal Jewish organizations get multi-millions from the Claims Conference. It is an outrage of the highest order.

The Maschkowskis, of Los Angeles, live in poverty, while ICHEIC, sitting on billions meant for survivors, refuses to answer their queries and doles out their money to Jewish organizations that have nothing to with the Holocaust. The Nazis made them suffer once. Now, the Claims Conference makes them suffer again. "The final abandonment of the remaining survivors of the Holocaust might now be taking place," Gerhard Maschkowski wrote.

Meanwhile, the latest "artwork" in the Holocaust Business -- the remake of "Anne Frank" -- was broadcast by ABC over the weekend. But there have been an insufferable many others -- Holocaust comedies, like Robin Williams' "Jakob the Liar," Roberto Benigni's "Life is Beautiful," and even the Holocaust clown movie, Jerry Lewis' "The Day the Clown Cried." Enough already. As Toward Tradition's Rabbi Daniel Lapin points out, while most Holocaust survivors will never see a dime, each "product" in the Holocaust business "represents a livelihood for happy Holocaust professionals," like Eagleburger and Hollywood producers. According to Lapin, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington annually consumes $34 million in government funds and $24 million in private funds. To add insult to injury, the museum recently invited -- and honored! -- the modern-day Hitler, terrorist Yasser Arafat, whose Palestinian Authority official radio station, television network, and newspaper (Al-Hayat Al-Jadeedah) regularly deny or praise Holocaust murders and push Nazi-esque anti-Semitism.

Then, there are the multiple Holocaust lawsuits targeting corporations that enslaved Jewish workers during the Holocaust. Corporations were dead wrong to use Nazi slaves, but it's also wrong for greedy, big-time trial lawyers who never suffered the oven fumes of Auschwitz or the smell of death at Treblinka to be the primary profiteers of class-action lawsuits that only harm innocent shareholders.

My grandparents were survivors of the camps, and my mother was born at their last stop, Bergen Belsen camp. They survived the Holocaust. Why must they endure a whole Holocaust industry that cares nothing about whether they survive their freedom?

It's time for these Holocaust merchants to get out of the business. And have the class and decency to heed the slogan of their own industry: "Never again."


Debbie Schlussel is a political commentator and attorney. She is a frequent guest on ABC's "Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher" and Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes" in addition to being a daily political commentator on the nationally syndicated morning radio show, "Mancow's Morning Madhouse."
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