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Is this Discrimination?
August 24, 2002. My cell phone rang at approximately 1:PM on a Saturday. I immediately recognized the familiar voice of Arthur Stern, member of the board of directors of the California Humanitarian Foundation for Holocaust Survivors. It was Shabbat. Why was Arthur Stern calling me on Shabbat? Was he making a friendly call to wish me "good Shabbus"?No. Arthur Stern, decided to question me about my mother's claim. It has been over one year since her claim was filed, so I thought it would be a good conversation -- that finally her claim would be processed, almost two years from the date promised for paying out the compensation.Unfortunately, Arthur Stern did not have claim processing on his mind. Rather, he seemed intent on proving to me that my mother's claim was not valid because she was not Jewish, or a gypsy or a homosexual.At first he was subtle. He stated that my mother's application did not appear to meet the criteria because she did not receive Medi-Cal benefits. I replied that I do not know why she was not enrolled in Medi-Cal. I suggest that apparently she was confident that her enrollment in the Kaiser's senior health care program was sufficient.I asked Arthur Stern if enrollment in Medi-Cal was new criteria -- because I was not aware of this. The criteria published over one year ago did not mention Medi-Cal. He said, no, but it would prove that she was "needy". I assured him that she met all the qualifications. She was a California resident, she met the Foundation's published financial criteria, and that she was a Holocaust survivor -- having spent several years as a forced laborer for the Third Reich. She was also forced to have sexual intercourse with her "employers". She was forced to have an abortion when she became pregnant. She learned later that members of her family were being held in concentration camps and that her sister's fiancée's father was shot in the head for hiding a Jewish woman."But she was not Jewish!" Replied the stern one."No", I said, "My mother was not Jewish -- but that the compensation was intended for Jewish and non-Jewish victims. Many of the forced laborers were not Jewish", I added.Arthur Stern did not like hearing this. He immediately became very defensive and indignant. He blurted out several numbers, percentages and "facts". He obviously felt personally offended. I assured him that I was aware that he is a Jewish Holocaust survivor, but I politely added that there were millions of non-Jewish victims. And there are also thousands of non-Jewish survivors like my mother.
He argued with me further. I finally asked, "are you saying my mother does not qualify for compensation unless she was Jewish?"No, if she were a gypsy, she would qualify," he said.
you saying that only Jews and gypsies were victims of the Nazi's -- and only Jews
and gypsies qualify?" I asked, feeling frustrated. "Homosexuals,"
he added. "If she were homosexual she would qualify."I
finally asked if I could get this in writing, because I could not believe what
I was hearing. This man, whom I started out feeling great respect for, was changing
the criteria for the compensation as we spoke!"I
will give you nothing in writing," he replied tersely. We
argued and debated Holocaust statistics a bit further. He really did not like
what I was saying -- that millions of non-Jews were also victims of the Holocaust.
ended the conversation saying that he would send out a letter to my mother --
and that would be it. He hung up the phone abruptly.
Send us your comments: Non-Jewish Victims
Who were the five million others?
The Non-Jewish Holocaust Victims