Another JW holocaust fund post

by Saintbertholdt 3 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Saintbertholdt

    Hi there,

    Yesterday a thread was started about the fact that the Watchtower wanted funds allocated to the organization itself for remembrance work. Thus far I cannot determine that this ever happened but what is known is that funds were disbursed to JW holocaust survivors in Central, Eastern Europe as well as Russia.

    Here are some notes on the organization which the Watchtower started for this purpose.

    The information below comes from a project I am working on:

    Appendix D: Some notes on the JWHESF tax reporting from 2001-2005

    In 1995, fifty years after the end of World War II, the World Jewish Congress started a massive class action lawsuit against Swiss banks regarding bank accounts that had been indefinitely held since the end of the war. In November 2000 a settlement plan was announced under which 1.25 billion dollars would be distributed to surviving holocaust victims. The funds would be controlled and dispersed by the Jewish Banking Trust. Jehovah's Witnesses were identified as possible recipients and eventually 1876 witnesses were assisted through the Humanitarian Support Program (HSP) which was tasked with distributing the funds and needed services. The HSP preferred assisting the recipients with food aid, medical assistance, winter assistance and lastly emergency financial assistance. The Watchtower organization started a fund called the Jehovah's Witness Holocaust-Era Survivor Fund (JWHESF) to handle the final distribution to their recipients and the HSP subsequently identified the JWHESF as a distribution partner. Between 2001 and 2005 the funds were allocated and disbursed.

    The 2006 Humanitarian Support Program report indicated that “The JWHESF [Jehovah's Witness Holocaust-Era Survivor Fund] relied on its network of local bethels (church centres) and volunteers for the implementation of two consecutive projects over a three-year period...The programme benefited from substantial input by Jehovah’s Witness community members that was not charged to the programme. The efforts of these 'volunteers' helped keep administrative project costs among the lowest in [the] HSP. Nevertheless, the lack of administrative funds allocated by [the] IOM’s partner to its country teams also contributed to making the regularity of their work, reporting and follow-up with beneficiaries problematic.”

    So what the above paragraph means is that the ordinary witnesses in the recipient countries bore most of the expenses too keep costs as low as possible and to therefore maximize the benefits to the recipients. The volunteers gathered the names and details of the survivors in their area and then sent it to their countries branch office (Bethels) where the information would be compiled. These witness volunteers also did the in person and telephone follow ups with the recipients and thereafter the reporting. The Humanitarian Support Program (HSP) was very particular in this regard in that it would not release the next round of funds to any of its partners unless the reporting was in order.

    As quoted earlier the HSP pointed out one specific area that could have been improved upon and that was that the JWHESF denied any funds to the country teams. This meant telephone calls and travel expenditure was defrayed to the individual witness volunteers which made the follow-ups dependent upon each individuals personal budget. It therefore made reporting irregular. The organization itself did not have this problem and substantially charged general administrative expenditure for its own volunteers in the USA to maintain efficiency. The expenditure accounted for 6% of the total funds available over the period of the program*.

    * 990 forms for the Tax years 2001 to 2005 for Jehovah's Witness Holocaust-Era Survivors Fund, Inc. The JWHESF personnel did not receive any salaries for their work except for some professional fees that were charged. Charges were made for materials and equipment, internet usage, telephone, travel, postage etc. The volunteer witnesses did not have the opportunity to recoup their expenditures such as travel costs, phone bills and postage.

    The cost breakdown between 2001 and 2005 for the JWHESF is as follows:

    Total funds received: $911 356

    General Administrative costs: $54 871 (6% of total funds received)

    Total funds available for recipients: $856 485

    Total recipients benefited: 1876

    Average amount per recipient received: Approximately $456

    The only expenditure charged by the JWHESF program that seems out of the ordinary occurred in the last year of HSP fund distribution in 2005. The JWHESF indicated in its accomplishments that its functions were that recipients were identified and that "Funds were disbursed." The identification was done through the Branch offices and volunteers, compiled and forwarded to the JWHESF at no cost. The JWHESF then dispersed the funds in blocks to the Bethel Branch office accounts in the various recipient countries where the funds would have been allocated according to each individuals needs. As shown in the HSP report the Branch Offices and volunteers could not charge any costs to JWHESF for the final distribution to the recipients.

    So it comes as a surprise that in 2005 the JWHESF charges $16 141 for postage and shipping. Between 2001 and 2004 postage and shipping only accounted for $635. The bulk of the funds ($782 546) were received and disbursed during that period. In 2005 $128 810 was received and disbursed using the same previous methods but now $16 141 was spent on postage and shipping.

    It could not have been fund dispersal (the posting of cheques) directly to the recipients as there is no indication that any methodology changed in 2005. Also the HSP preferred assisting recipients directly through items such as food, winter and medical assistance and as previously stated any associated costs were left to the Branch offices and volunteers. Only 12.5% of recipients received direct emergency financial support.

    The $16 141 printing and shipping expenditure could not have been the costs involved in sending a final comprehensive report to each recipient via post seeing as there was no printing costs indicated in the 2005 tax return. In previous years printing costs had been indicated so it was not a cost the organization would defray. It is unclear why postage and packaging costs had increased so significantly in 2005.

    Another small matter of interest is that in the 2003 tax report the following question was asked: “80a Is the organization related (other than by association with a statewide or nationwide organization) through common membership, governing bodies, trustees, officers, etc. to any other exempt or nonexempt organization?”

    On the form the response was indicated as No. If it was answered Yes the organizations that these individuals were connected with had to be indicated. In the 2003 list of officers of the organization the following names appear: James Pelechia, Daniel Bland, Max Custer anc Jolene Chu. Daniel Bland is a director of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. James Pelechia was the associate editor of Watch Tower publications and director of public affairs. Max Custer and Jolene Chu are both on the Watchtower corporations legal team. Over the years all other individuals listed as representatives of the JWHESF have ties to Watchtower related organizations. It is unclear why they omit to state these connections when it is actually quite plainly stated in the name of the organization itself. Possibly a simple oversight.

    The last item discussed is also just an interesting curiosity. In the 2004 JWHESF tax report, the Swiss Vogel foundation contributed $49 900 for a specific project to be carried out by the Jehovah's Witness Holocaust Era Survivors Fund. The Vogel foundation was Alfred Vogel's who was already diseased by 2004 but which continued his legacy. Since the 1930's Vogel was a Naturopath and Phytologist. He had started a company called Bioforce AG which until today still produces Naturopathic remedies and which are distributed around the world, including the USA. The most well known is a cold remedy called Echinaforce.

    Vogel was also a Jehovah's Witness and a personal source who knew him informed me that he also claimed to be part of the “anointed” group of Jehovah's Witnesses. Thus Vogel and his legacy foundation would have had very personal reasons to contribute to the JWHESF fund. Seeing as the nature of the assistance to the recipients was mostly material in nature, it could be speculated that the Vogel Foundation wanted to assist the elderly recipients through the provision of Naturopathic remedies. The project (whatever it may have entailed) was not initiated by the JWHESF and so the Vogel foundation asked for the funds to be returned.


    990 form reports for organizations exempt from income tax for the Jehovah's Witness Holocaust-Era Survivors Fund for the years 2001,2002,2003,2004,2005

    The 2006 Final Report on Assistance to Needy, Elderly compiled by the Humanitarian Support Program which is part of the International Organization for Migration under the subsection Jehovah's Witness Survivors

    Essay: Alfred Vogel (1902–1996) as an example of the development of non-physician naturopathy – especially phytotherapy – in Switzerland by Jörg Melzer, Christian Kleemann, Reinhard Saller - Institute of Complementary Medicine, Dept. of Internal Medicine, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland

  • WTWizard

    Whether you believe this happened or not (personally, I do not), why are we still paying for an event that supposedly happened between 1942 and 1945? For that matter, why are we still paying for an event that supposedly happened some 6,000 years ago? Shouldn't these accounts have been settled by now, or is someone using them as a pretext to enslave the whole human race? (Such as the event supposedly happening in Eden, serving as a pretext to bind us to "sin" that can only be undone by emulating the perfect slave).

    Just get the damn debts settled already. Or else we will have all the more reason to wonder if they are fake and serve just as a pretext to destroy all human spirituality.

  • CalebInFloroda
    If this claim is true then something tells me that this is another proof that the financial writing is on the wall for the Jehovah's Witnesses and their organization. They must need the money, really need it, in order to have the guts to claim they deserve it...and I can't see how they can claim they are entitled to it as an organization.

    The reason for these type of funds is to compensate survivors and/or their families because of the financial burden the Holocaust has had on these people. What people don't realize because most as far removed from actual survivors is that many of these people are still struggling, and quite old too. When the war was over many tried to return to their homes and property only to find that others had moved in and refused to give them their homes back. This has affected a couple of generations in these families.

    But financial compensation just because you were affected by the Holocaust is meaningless to Jews if you don't need the money. Money is no real compensation for the injustices suffered. All Jews were affected by the Holocaust. We all lost family relations and such, even those born after the events. We are not all getting compensation or applying for it. It's not about money.

    The entire organization of JWs was not affected by the Holocaust. It's daily operations were not stopped. Most of its members didn't even know about it, and many who did see the events actually did nothing due to their neutrality while watching my family members being driven from the homes and sent to death camps. Just a few weeks ago we received an official apology from the Roman Catholic Church in Austria not only for the part Catholics played in the Holocaust but also from those who stood by and did nothing. I don't ever recall any JW apologizing for standing by and not doing anything during the Holocaust. Being neutral during the Holocaust is considered just as bad, you Jehovah's Witnesses...even Catholics see that!

    So while I see it totally proper for individual JW survivors and their families to apply and receive funds for compensation due to losses incurred from the Holocaust, the JW organization has no right since as a whole it, like the Catholic Church in Austria, stood by and did NOTHING!

    You don't stand by and do nothing when your neighbors are being dragged away to death camps. When the "godless" Soviets learned what was happening, they DID something...and these people were atheists!

    Christians and their organizations who stood by and did nothing don't deserve compensation for the Holocaust. On the contrary, they should be the ones paying out the money!

  • Giordano

    Some further clarification on where the money came from and why it was


    Starting in 1995, the World Jewish Congress (WJC) began negotiations on behalf of various Jewish organizations with Swiss banks and the Swiss government over dormant Jewish World War II bank accounts. Led by Edgar Bronfman, the their to the Seagram's fortune, the WJC entered a class-action in Brooklyn, NY combining several established suits in New York, California, and the District of Columbia. The original suits arose from grievances of Holocaust survivors and their heirs against Swiss banks. They alleged improper difficulties in accessing these accounts because of requirements such as death certificates (typically non-existent for Holocaust victims), along with deliberate efforts on the part of some Swiss banks to retain the balances indefinitely. The causes for claims eventually expanded to include the value of art works purported to have been stolen, "damages" to persons denied admission to Switzerland on the strength of refugee applications, and the value or cost of labor purported to have been performed by persons being maintained at Swiss government expense in displaced-person camps during the Holocaust, along with interest on such claims from the time of loss. Plaintiffs included all Holocaust victims, not just Jews.

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