Today is Yom HaShoah — Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Imagine your youth and family destroyed by the Nazis and now your old age is tormented by the crushing burden of poverty. This is the reality for a great number of survivors worldwide who live below the poverty line.
In May 2008, Bet Tzedek launched the Holocaust Survivors Justice Network in response to two German government sponsored payment programs. The Network partners pro bono attorneys with Jewish social service providers to provide free legal assistance to eligible Holocaust survivors seeking reparations. To date, operating in more than 30 cities, over 5,000 survivors have been served through the Network, and have already recovered more than $11 million. Survivors assisted through the Network are projected to recover more than $190 million over the next five years.
The Network has been described as “the largest coordinated pro bono effort in United States history,” with more than 100 law firms and corporate legal departments participating. We were proud to present the 2009 CPBO Pro Bono Partner Award to Aetna Inc.**; Bet Tzedek; and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP*† for this innovative partnership program.
Let’s honor the memory of those who perished by performing pro bono legal services to help those survivors who are still in need so they may live their remaining years with dignity.
* denotes a Signatory to the Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge®
† denotes a Member of the Law Firm Pro Bono Project
** denotes a Signatory to the Corporate Pro Bono ChallengeSM