(Washington, D.C., Feb. 25, 2020)—B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
We commend Bulgarian authorities for preventing a torch-carrying march attended by neo-Nazi groups from taking place last weekend. The annual demonstration is named after anti-Semite and Nazi ally General Hristo Lukov, whose Union of Bulgarian National Legions movement supported the deportation of more than 11,000 Jews from Macedonia to the death camp Treblinka.
Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court ruled that the far-right demonstrators had to limit their rally to laying wreaths at Lukov’s home, rather than marching. The court decision, as well as the cooperation of senior Bulgarian government officials, is a victory for the Bulgarian Jewish community.
A survey released by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) last year found that 85 percent of Europe’s Jews believe anti-Semitism is the biggest social or political problem in their society and 30 percent had been subjected to anti-Semitic harassment. It is vital that European governments ensure the safety and security of their Jewish communities.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit www.bnaibrith.org
B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith International is pleased to learn Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) have introduced the Nazi Social Security Benefits Termination Act (H.R.5706) designed to close a legal loophole that has allowed many suspected Nazi war criminals to collect Social Security payments, despite leaving the country and renouncing their citizenship. B’nai B’rith supports changing the law to close this loophole and deny Social Security to such individuals.
Sen. Robert Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-N.Y.) also introduced a companion bill in the Senate (S.2920). Furthermore, we understand another bill is expected to be introduced by the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over Social Security.
The Associated Press reported last month that suspected Nazis collected—and continue to collect—Social Security checks because of the specific process through which they were removed from the country. Current U.S. law, unfortunately, strips benefits only from those suspected war criminals who are deported—not from those who abandon their U.S. citizenship and leave the country before the deportation process concludes.
In order to expedite the process of ridding this country of those Nazi criminals living in our midst, individuals under investigation by the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, a unit within the Justice Department formerly referred to as the Office of Special Investigations (OSI), were, at times, permitted to renounce their citizenship and leave the country.
We look forward to seeing and discussing all approaches to ending these payments while respecting the integrity of the Social Security system.
B’nai B’rith encourages all involved in addressing this problem to continue to work with the speed, thoughtfulness and care required when making any adjustment to the rules surrounding an earned benefit system.
Former-Nazis Receiving Social Security Payments Through Legal Loophole; B’nai B’rith Advocates For Legislative Change
The Associated Press recently reported that many suspected Nazi war criminals who once lived in the United States and faced investigation by the Justice Department continue to collect Social Security payments through a legal loophole, despite having left the country and renounced their U.S. citizenship. B’nai B’rith International supports changing the law to close this loophole and deny Social Security to such individuals. We are pleased that members in both chambers of Congress have announced their intentions to introduce bipartisan legislation to address this problem.
Since moving abroad, these former Nazis have lived undisturbed lives, collecting additional entitlements from the governments of the countries in which they reside. B’nai B’rith urges these governments to cease providing benefits to such individuals and force them to stand trial.
The Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, a unit within the Justice Department formerly referred to as the Office of Special Investigations (OSI), has done exceptional work since its inception to remove Nazi war criminals from the U.S. We commend this office for the vital work it has done in helping to bring these individuals to justice, including deporting many of them to countries where they should be subject to prosecution.
However, the reason these suspected Nazis collected—and continue to collect—Social Security checks has to do with the specific process through which they were removed from the country. Current U.S. law, unfortunately, strips benefits only from those suspected war criminals who are deported—not from those who abandon their U.S. citizenship and leave the country before the deportation process concludes. In order to expedite the process of ridding this country of those Nazi criminals living in our midst, individuals under investigation by the OSI were, at times, permitted to renounce their citizenship and leave the country. It is disturbing that, upon returning to the countries from which they originated, many of these individuals were never prosecuted for war crimes—a highly negative reflection on the governments they live under.
For too long these Nazi perpetrators have been able to collect Social Security from the U.S. government—as well as a variety of social welfare benefits from their native countries—all the while living comfortably and successfully avoiding punishment for their crimes.
A change in the law would deprive Social Security benefits from those who left the country and renounced their citizenship as the result of an OSI investigation. These former Nazis are no more deserving of Social Security benefits than those whom the U.S. actually deported.
See where B'nai B'rith International stands on the issues.