Wednesday, April 6, 2011

History is Made on the Fourth Floor

In this week’s edition of The Jewish Week, there is a story of special interest regarding an historic agreement made this week between the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the German government. Germany has agreed to a multi-year commitment to fund home care for needy Holocaust survivors through 2014. The funding will go from $177 million in 2012 to $196 million in 2014, but as the Claims Conference website says, the total is $600 million. Negotiators on both sides should be pleased and proud of their work on this monumental task.

Prior to sitting down on Monday across a long mahogany conference table in a room on the fourth floor that overlooks the Statue of Liberty, the group went on a tour of the Museum of Jewish Heritage. “We took them on a tour of the museum for an hour before the session with a German-speaking guide,” Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat, the Claims Conference’s special negotiator, told The Jewish Week. “The environment was quite good and historic.”

Following the tour they retreated to our board room to get down to business.

Given the result of these momentous talks, I don’t think I’ll ever see our board room quite the same way ever again.

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