March 3, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
A nonprofit group with a strong presence in Queens is set to receive millions of dollars to allocate to Holocaust survivors.
Selfhelp, a Manhattan-based nonprofit that provides a range of services to seniors, will receive nearly $31 million through the German government to help the organization care for elderly New York-area residents who survived the horrors of the Holocaust.
A portion of those funds will be used to support Selfhelp’s Holocaust Survivor program in Queens, which it operates from an office at 70-20 Austin St. in Forest Hills.
The program offers home care, financial management services, community support and social programs. There are about 600 Holocaust survivors living in the borough, according to Aubrey Jacobs, the program’s executive director.
Of the approximately 600 Holocaust survivors living in Queens, 125 of them live in Forest Hills, Jacobs said.
The $30.7 million comes from a global nonprofit organization called Claims Conference, which is working with the German government to secure the funds.
The Claims Conference has secured reparations for Holocaust survivors living around the world since the early 1950s. The organization makes annual payments to hundreds of nonprofit organizations, including Selfhelp.
The payments, which come every year, are the primary source of funding for Selfhelp’s Holocaust Survivor program, Jacobs said.
Jacobs said funding is vitally important to helping Holocaust survivors live out their final years comfortably. Many Holocaust survivors are frail and in their 80s to 90s, she said.
“The support we receive from the Claims Conference is critically important as it enables us to…provide the services, support and care our clients deserve to help them live with dignity and independence,” said Jacobs.
Funding received by the Claims Conference last year, Jacobs said, was also used to cover the cost of medical care, food, utilities and other emergency needs that Holocaust survivors had. need during the pandemic.
Additionally, Selfhelp social workers provided virtual programs, phone calls and home visits to help address the increased isolation of survivors during the lockdowns.
Jacobs said it’s difficult to gauge how much of the funds received this year will go to support Holocaust survivors living in Queens, given that Selfhelp runs other Holocaust survivor programs in the area. from New York.
Selfhelp’s programs for Holocaust survivors support about 5,500 Jews outside of Queens, she said.
Since 1952, the German government has paid more than $90 billion in compensation to victims who were persecuted by the Nazis, mostly through negotiations with the Claims Conference.
This year, Claims Conference is receiving $720 million from the German government, which it will distribute to more than 300 nonprofit and social service organizations around the world.