Tuesday, 28 September 2010


Early this year, Jerry Sheehan and Cristin Zeisler, pro bono attorneys from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, who works with Bet Tzedek in Los Angeles, met with a 93-year-old Holocaust survivor in New York, who for the purpose of this story we refer to as LO.

The two attorneys worked to find records of the ghetto and petitioned the German government for a ZRBG pension. The application was submitted and supplemented early this year.

When first introduced, the requirements for the ZRBG pension were so stringent that nearly 92% of applicants to the pension were rejected. A recent German court decision made the ZRBG pensions more accessible. Bet Tzedek attorney Volker Schmidt worked closely with German authorities and produced instructional materials to help direct volunteers in assisting survivors with these applications.

Less than six weeks after the supplemental filing, Sheehan received a call from the elated Holocaust survivor reporting that she had just received a retroactive pension check for $18,200, with life-time monthly payments in the $320 range also promised.

Bet Tzedek is pleased by this victory and the part we were able to play, along with our partners at Manatt. We look forward to many more successes in the future with the ZRBG pension.


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