A Time to Forget?

Published: 2018-05-13

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc. (COJMCAG Inc.) commissioned a study of the public's "Awareness of the Holocaust,” timed to be released on Holocaust Remembrance Day. COJMCAG Inc. claims that there is a "significant lack of Holocaust knowledge in the United States."

"This study underscores the importance of Holocaust education in our schools,” said Greg Schneider, executive vice president of COJMCAG Inc. “There remain troubling gaps in Holocaust awareness while survivors are still with us; imagine when there are no longer survivors here to tell their stories. We must be committed to ensuring the horrors of the Holocaust and the memory of those who suffered so greatly are remembered, told and taught by future generations.”


The New York City-based COJMCAG, Inc. uses the motto, "65 years of providing a small measure of justice for Jewish victims of the Shoah." Their website goes on to state, “Since our first agreement with West Germany in 1952, more than $70 billion has been paid to more than 800,000 Holocaust victims.” The website also offers Career Opportunities in COJMCAG Inc.


An early Claims Conference delegation meeting at the State Department in 1952

The Statement of Financial Position for 2016 reports that COJMCAG Inc. has assets of $507,064,373. Administration expenses are listed at $15,544,770 per year. Collecting and managing reparations seems to have become a big business. This fact raises some interesting issues: Whatever the rights and wrongs of a reparations program are, the flow of $70 billion has created a large corporation which has an existential interest in promoting and controlling its particular narrative of events.


COJMCAG Inc.'s problem is simple; No guilt trip, no cash. And the guilt-trip field is getting more and more crowded. While COJMCAG Inc. promotes the Holocaust as "a human catastrophe without precedent," history is filled with disasters, horrors and crimes. Why pay out billions to one group of alleged victims and ignore slaughtered Ukrainians, Chinese, Africans, Native Americans, or even Sudetenland Germans?  

While the guilt-trip business is expanding, COJMCAG Inc.'s core business is shrinking, with fewer and fewer survivor-victims alive to collect compensation. Do you think that Executive Vice President Greg Schneider might be worried about his job security? The raison d'être of COJMCAG Inc. has one foot in the grave and the other foot on a banana peel.

COJMCAG Inc.'s survival strategy is to expand into the business of remembrance, commission studies, and declaim the insensitivity and ignorance of modern Americans. This is all interesting as a case study in the dynamics of charities. What makes COJMCAG Inc. unique is its need to create and control a narrative which is based on "horrors of the Holocaust." To entrust our history to the care of COJMCAG Inc. is putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.

There is a more fundamental question regarding COJMCAG Inc.'s new business plan, Maybe it is a good thing to have gaps in Holocaust awareness. Saturating a society with tales of victimization and horror has some very bad effects, like guilt, hatred, alienation. Maybe we should be asking when is it time to forget.

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Author(s): David Merlin
Title: A Time to Forget?
Published: 2018-05-13
First posted on CODOH: May 13, 2018, 3:27 p.m.
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