Living With Dignity! International Conference on Welfare of Holocaust Survivors and Other Victims of Nazi Persecution

The two-day conference took place on May 26-27, 2015 at Czernin Palace in Prague under the patronage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic, European Parliament, European Commission, and with the financial support of the U.S State Department, the Ministry of Senior Citizens of Israel, the Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future”, and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.

The conference focused on the problems and needs of Holocaust survivors and other victims of Nazi persecution and sought examples of good practices and practical mechanisms for providing assistance to victims of Nazism so that they can live their lives in dignity. The conference was attended by over 200 participants – including representatives of 39 governments, the European Union, non-governmental organisations, and independent experts.

The conference was divided into six panels, with experts from non-governmental organisations and the governmental sector from various countries participating. This allowed participants to familiarize themselves with the current state of affairs in the Czech Republic, Israel, Germany, France, Malta, Romania, Poland, USA, Great Britain, Ukraine, and Russia.

The six conference panels were as follows:

  • The Role and Responsibility of States Towards Holocaust Survivors and Other Victims of Nazi Persecution;
  • Analysis of Existing Welfare Mechanisms Across the Forty-Seven Terezin Declaration Countries;
  • The Situation of Holocaust Survivors and Other Victims of Nazi Persecution: Current Needs and Future Challenges;
  • Enhancing Cooperation Between State & Non-State Providers of Welfare Services ;
  • Optimization of Available Welfare Funding;
  • Innovative Approaches.

The conference also saw the launch of a new database, compiled by Prof. Lyle Scruggs of the University of Connecticut and his team, which provides a comprehensive analysis of national social welfare policies.

Co-Chairs of the conference, Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat - Special Adviser to the United States Secretary of State for Holocaust Issues; and Jiří Šitler - Special Enjoy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic for Holocaust Issues; released a Joint Statement at the conference’s conclusion.

Videos

Intro video for the Conference

Opening Remarks

Halyna Senyk, Director of the European Shoah Legacy Institute
Michaela Marksová, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic
Jakub Kulhánek, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic
Stuart Eizenstat, Special Advisor to the Secretary of State, United States
Jiří Šitler, Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues and Combat of Antisemitism, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Czech Republic
Pavel Svoboda, Member of the European Parliament
Hugo Marom, Representative of Holocaust Survivors and Other Victims of Nazi Persecution

Opening Remark by Věra Jourová, EU Commissioner

Panel I - The role and responsibility of states towards victims of nazi persecution

Rovana Plumb, Minister of Labour, Family and Social Protection and Elderly of Romania
Michael Farrugia, Minister for the Family and Social Solidarity, Malta
Marek Bucior, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy of Poland
Gary Coren, Ambassador of Israel, Prague, Czech Republic

Panel II - Analysis of Welfare Mechanism Across the Forty - Seven Terezin Declaration Countries

Prof. Lyle Scruggs, Research Director, European Shoah Legacy Institute

Panel III - Current Needs and Future Challenges

Ambassador Colette Avital, Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors, Israel
Colonel Pavel Vranský (Ret.), Czech Union of Freedom Fighters, Czech Republic
Jost Rebentisch, German Association for Information and Advice for Victims of Nazi Persecution, Germany
Anastasia Gulei, Holocaust Survivor, Ukraine

Conclusion of First Day's Events Part 1 - Stuart Eizenstat

Conclusions of First Day's Events Part 2 - Jiří Šitler

Panel V – Optimalisation of Available Welfare Funding

Greg Schneider, Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, USA

Gilad Semama, Ministry for Senior Citizens, Israel

Kurt Wegscheidler, Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection, Austria

Dariusz Pawloś, Foundation for Polish-German Reconciliation, Poland

Rachel Rimmer, Foundation for Memory of Shoah, France

Panel VI – Innovative Approaches

Michael Newman, Association of Jewish Refugees in Great Britain, Great Britain

Elisheva Flamm-Oren, Amcha – National Israeli Center for Psychosocial Support of Survivors of the Holocaust and the Second Generation, Israel

Darina Sedláčková, Living Memory, Czech Republic

Jutta Weduwen, Action Reconciliation Service for Peace, Germany

Galina Poliakova, Age Concern Ukraine, Ukraine

Concluding Statements

Felix Kolmer, Representative of Holocaust Survivors and Other Victims of Nazi PersecutionVice-President, International Auschwitz Committee, Czech Republic

Ambassador Jiří Šitler, Co-Chair of the Conference, Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues and Combat of Antisemitism, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic

Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, Co-Chair of the Conference, Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for Holocaust Issues, USA

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