Bnai Brith Magazine Spring 2013 : Page 38
B’NAI B’RITH TODAY Holocaust Remembrance Day Program (continued from page 35) years, Poland has come up empty on its promises to give restitution to survivors and their heirs, and now, the government unconditionally refuses to offer assistance. “Recently, they’ve basi-cally said they’re not going to do anything and you can go to court and deal with it,” Bucheister said. Germany has “far reaching compensation and restitution laws,” Bucheister said. This legislation went into effect in West Germany following World War II and across the entire country after the fall of the Berlin Wall. “Despite being more than a half-century removed from the horrors of the Holocaust, it remains ever-important that B’nai B’rith and other Jewish groups press on in our ﬁght for some minimal justice to be made to survivors and their families,” B’nai B’rith International President Allan J. Jacobs said from New York, where he addressed the program. “Programs like this open eyes to the uphill battle we continue to face.” Bucheister was born in Haifa, Israel, and immigrated to Omaha, Neb., with his family. A child of two survi-vors, he has been a principal negotiator for the conference for many years. He says one of the confer-ence’s main functions is negoti-ating for heirless property that’s been sold. Whatever is returned—whether it’s mon-etary or physical property— 38 SPRING 2013 goes toward communal and social welfare needs. “We’re dealing with the most urgent needs for Holocaust survivors, and that’s primarily homecare,” Bucheister said. “Each year we have a program on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and every year it’s another chilling reminder of the atrocities committed against the Jewish people—atrocities against humanity,” said B’nai B’rith International Execu-tive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin, who addressed the program. “Recounting these crimes reminds us, once again, that we all must bear witness.” Ultimately, Bucheister says, no country has done everything that could be done in regard to restitution. But he presses on in his ﬁght because “the relatively little that’s gotten is helpful to those who get it.” This program preceded the ofﬁcial U.N. Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony, which B’nai B’rith representa-tives also attended. B’nai B’rith played an active role in the U.N.’s adoption of Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2005. Photos by Vanessa Helene Mazaltov Ventura Keynote speaker, Arie Bucheister, addresses the audience while Allan J. Jacobs, B’nai B’rith International president (right), listens. Irith Jawetz (center) poses a question to the keynote speaker, Arie Bucheister, while Pincas Jawetz (left) looks on. While working with the Austrian Consulate General in New York for 38 years, Irith Jawetz oversaw relations with refugees from Nazism living in the eastern half of the United States. Congratulations to Zelda Brafman of Brooklyn, N.Y., the winner of the B’nai B’rith Magazine winter 2012 drawing for a Chanukah menorah designed by Judaic artist Gary Rosenthal.