Big Firms Do A Mitzvah.

1993118-7827755Many of us are aware of the substantial efforts being made by mid and big-size firms in town who are collaborating to assist Holocaust victims in recovering compensation for their “volunteer” slave labor during WWII.Kudos, folks.

Still, it’s nice to read about it in the paper:

More than 65 years later, Heider and 500 other Holocaust survivors in South Florida want the German government to pay them back for their work in the ghettos during World War II. They are applying for the one-time payment of $3,000 from the Ghetto Work Payment Program fund established in late 2007 to benefit those who carried out work for which they “volunteered.”

For years the German government has rejected thousands of claims from Jews for pensions under the Ghetto Pension Law, using strict interpretations of conditions for eligibility, including the definition of voluntary work. The new program is not supposed to replace claims for the pension program. But the clock is ticking, and the generation that survived the Holocaust is dying without receiving the justice that is due to them.

To qualify, however, the survivors have to describe their work as ”voluntary,” as opposed to slave labor under the threat of death. In the ghettos, the Jews swept streets and carried out other manual labor that was remunerated in some fashion, including Ghetto-Marks, ration cards, food, clothing or medicines.

”There has been a general sense of frustration and insult among the survivors,” said Jeremy Sahn, an attorney with Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod in Miami, one of the firms that is sponsoring legal clinics to help prepare the documentation.

This is an example of firms getting together and doing the type of pro bono that requires commitment, resources, and significant support.

We’re proud of you, Jeremy (sorry about the Jerry Lewis photo).