Karen Heilig is the Assistant Executive Vice President for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference). Born in Sydney, Australia, Karen worked as a corporate lawyer in Australia, Israel and the United States and left corporate law to join the Claims Conference in 1999. During the last 17 years she has participated in all negotiations involving the Claims Conference - including those that led to the establishment of the German Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” that provided payments to former Slave and Forced Laborers, the International Commission for Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC) and the Austrian General Settlement Fund. During recent years the bilateral ongoing negotiations with the German Government have led to expanded criteria for the pensions and one-time payments under the Article 2 and Hardship Funds and dramatically increased German Government ‘in home services’ funding. Karen’s parents and grandparents were Holocaust survivors. Her grandfather and all his 8 brothers perished in the Shoah. She currently lives in New York with her husband and two children.
From the Front Lines: International Holocaust Restitution and Compensation Efforts