Holocaust survivors and Jewish community leaders join Reps. Maloney & Lance in call for passage of Nazi Benefits Termination Act
NEW YORK -- Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Congressman Leonard Lance (R-NJ) today joined Holocaust survivors and Jewish community leaders in calling on Congress to act immediately to terminate Social Security benefits for former Nazis. The representatives described their bill to cut off any federal benefits, including Social Security benefits, for those involved in the Nazi persecution. The bill will be introduced when Congress is back in session in mid-November.
"Our bill will provide the Justice Department with the authority it needs to terminate benefits of Nazi war criminals," said Congresswoman Maloney. "It is modeled on the approach taken by the late Representative Bob Franks in a bill I co-sponsored in 1999, and I am grateful for his work on this issue. I am hopeful that the House will take this bill up when it returns for the lame duck session this November. We should work in a bi-partisan and expeditious manner to terminate these benefits once and for all. The American taxpayer should not be subsidizing the retirements of those guilty of the worst atrocities in human history."
“The world can never forget the hate and intolerance that claimed the lives of millions and forever scarred the face of mankind,” said Congressman Lance. “Congress must close this loophole and right this wrong in the name of the lives that were lost. To think Nazis are living off the tax funds of the children of liberators is sickening and morally wrong. Congress must put an end to it.”
Many Holocaust survivors and Jewish community leaders joined the representatives for the event, including Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, Vice President of the Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants; Michael Miller, of the Jewish Community Relations Council; Rabbi Elie Weinstock of the New York Board of Rabbis; and Chana Wiesenfeld, a Holocaust survivor of Transnistria Concentration Camp.
The Nazi Benefits Termination Act of 2014 would:
- Affirmatively declare Nazi war criminals to be ineligible for federal benefits.
- Establish a new immigration hearing process in order to terminate all federal benefits, including Social Security payments, to Nazi war criminals. The lack of this process has been the major reason why benefits have not already been terminated.
- Charge the Department of Justice with bringing individual cases forward to terminate benefits, under this new process.
- An immigration judge would then determine if the individual was a participant in Nazi persecution and if so, the judge would be required to promptly issue an order declaring the individual to be ineligible for any federal benefit, including Social Security.
- Any appeal to the judge’s final order must be filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit no later than 30 days after the order becomes final.
Jeffrey S. Wiesenfeld, Vice President of American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors said: "The privileges and benefits of citizenship and permanent residency should never be afforded by this great nation to those who then or today, persecute others. The idea that accessories or direct perpetrators of genocide should receive Social Security, having entered this country under false pretenses, is an affront to every citizen. Particularly in this, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps by the Allied Forces, it is essential for future generations that we show that we take this legacy with the same somber attitude as did General Eisenhower. We therefore salute Rep. Maloney and her colleagues in their sponsorship of this bill."
Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, Executive Vice President of the New York Board of Rabbis said: “There is no statute of limitations for Nazi murders. They should be behind bars not collecting benefits."
Michael Miller, of the Jewish Community Relations Council said: “It's shameful that those who participated in the persecution and extermination of 6 million martyred Jews during the Holocaust, as well as the killing of American and Allied forces, be afforded benefits from this country. We commend Rep. Maloney and the other sponsors of this legislation for taking the moral initiative to right an egregious wrong.”
In a recently released report, the Associated Press reopened the discussion on Social Security benefits paid to Nazi war criminals. The investigation revealed that dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals and SS guards collected millions of dollars in Social Security benefits after being forced out of the United States and that four are still collecting benefits. In the report, Maloney announced her intent to introduce legislation to stop the payments.
Maloney and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) will soon introduce legislation that affirmatively declares Nazi war criminals ineligible for federal benefits. Representative Lance will be an original co-sponsor of the bill. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) will introduce the Senate companion.
In September, Maloney sent a letter to theSocial Security Administration seeking details on payments made to Nazi war criminals. Following the publication of the Associated Press report, Maloney sent letters to the Inspectors General of the Social Security Administration and Department of Justice seeking an investigation into the matter. A PDF of the letter to the Social Security Administration Inspector General is here. A PDF of the letter to the Department of Justice Inspector General is linked here.
Maloney is a co-author of the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, which created the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group.