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Aging Holocaust survivors try to sue over Nazi-era insurance

Yahoo News

AVENTURA, Fla. (AP) — When David Schaecter was a child in Slovakia in the 1930s, he counted more than 100 people in his extended family. By the end of World War II, he alone survived. The rest had been killed in Nazi concentration camps or by roving SS death squads.

Schaecter lost not only his family, but all they owned, including life insurance covering his murdered relatives. And as time runs out on aging Holocaust survivors, some are trying to recover insurance policies that were not honored by Nazi-era companies, which could be worth at least $25 billion altogether in today’s dollars, according to the Holocaust Survivors’ Foundation USA. 

The survivors want to take insurance companies to court in the U.S. to recover the money, but it would take an act of Congress to allow it.

For nearly two decades, the foundation members have tried and failed to gain access to U.S. courts.

“This is an insult to humanity,” said Schaecter, 90, president of the organization and a survivor of the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps. “I think they are trying to sweep it under the carpet. The fact is, we are a dying breed. There are so few of us left.”

As another season of high holy days concludes for Jews with Yom Kippur on Wednesday, the Holocaust survivors group is optimistic that a recent hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the stolen insurance issue may lead to change.

They gathered this week at Mo’s Bagels and Deli in the Miami suburb of Aventura to talk it over.

“This is our last hope,” said David Mermelstein, also 90, who leads a Miami-Dade chapter of the group. “How can a Holocaust survivor be a second-class citizen under American law?”

The answer is complicated.

The Nazis under Adolf Hitler’s “final solution” killed an estimated 6 million Jews and others deemed undesirable by the German government, including gypsies, homosexuals and the disabled. It began slowly once Hitler rose to power, with Jews prevented from certain jobs and schools, and then the 1938 attack by Nazi gangs on Jewish homes, stores and synagogues known as Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass.”

Since the war’s end, the German government has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in reparations to Holocaust survivors and other victims of the Third Reich. The International Commission on Holocaust Era Claims, formed in the 1990s with U.S. backing, has paid out $305 million on these issues, plus $200 million in humanitarian aid.

Germany, and insurance companies such as Munich-based Allianz SE and Italy’s Assicurazioni Generali, say the commission’s actions should provide finality — “legal peace,” in the terminology of the deal — on the insurance claims.

They also say they will repay verifiable claims, but verification is difficult given the passage of time and the wartime destruction of so many records. The companies have demanded original paperwork, such as death certificates, that were simply not available after the war.

The insurers had close Nazi ties. A former Allianz chairman in 1933 became Hitler’s economics minister. The company today is one of the world’s largest insurers, and insists it will not shy away from the past.

“While we cannot undo any aspect of our company’s history, we can learn from it and work to make sure the horrors of the Holocaust are never again repeated,” Anja Rechenberg, Allianz’s corporate responsibility spokesperson, said in an email. “To this day, Allianz continues to pay any verifiably unsettled claims.”

Mermelstein recalls as a child his parents having a plaque in their house labeled “Generali”, the name of the Italian insurer with which they had a policy. He also recalls an insurance agent coming around to collect the premiums.

“Of course we have no documents for obvious reasons,” he said.

Trieste-based Generali said it’s committed to paying claims whenever possible.

“Generali’s long-standing commitment to resolving claims of victims of the Holocaust and their heirs is well established and unequivocally remains in place today,” the company said in an email.

In Congress, bills have been filed over the years to allow American Holocaust survivors access to the U.S. courts. None have passed, and other Jewish groups have opposed them. These groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and American Jewish Committee, have decided instead to support the claims arrangement created in the 1990s.

In addition to permitting lawsuits against insurance companies, many of the bills would have required the companies to disclose lists of policies held by Jews before World War II.

The survivors say given the efficiency and meticulous record-keeping of the Third Reich, it’s hard to believe such lists don’t exist.

“If you know German bureaucracy, there isn’t a ‘T’ that hasn’t been crossed. They kept a real strict record,’ said Vera Karliner, whose husband Herb was on the ship named the St. Louis that was full of Jewish refugees but was turned away from the U.S. in 1939. Herb Karliner, now 93, survived the Holocaust.

As the aging Holocaust survivors await congressional action on their long-ago stolen insurance policies, many are in frail health, in need of assistance for things like prescription drugs and medical needs. All of them say they simply want justice.

Their lawyer, Sam Dubbin, says it’s time for lawmakers to do something.

“Because the current law is a result of court decisions based on misleading and unprecedented executive branch positions, only Congress can provide the necessary remedy — legislation to require the companies to publish policy information and to provide a clear right of action for claimants in U.S. courts,” Dubbin said.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/aging-holocaust-survivors-try-sue-205440972.html

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6 Responses to Aging Holocaust survivors try to sue over Nazi-era insurance

  1. Dean says:

    Pretty interesting, the Germans made sure to keep strict records of all insured jews but failed to keep records of the people allegedly disposed of at the camps or even records of those plans. I always thought it was quite inefficient of the so called “NAZI death camps” to leave so many survivors when according to “witnesses” the gassing and then the ovens were working 24/7.

    • Zombie Annihilation says:

      not to mention there is no documentable proof of the so called final solution other than what the soviets and us military installed after the “liberating” the camps.

  2. KOYOTE says:

    AVENTURA, Fla. (AP) — When David Schaecter was a child in Slovakia in the 1930s, he counted more than 100 people in his extended family. By the end of World War II, he alone survived. The rest had been killed in Nazi concentration camps or by roving SS death squads.
    THE “GERMAN DEATH SQUADS” TARGETED KNOWN COMMUNISTS. JEWISH OR NOT.
    HE IS LETTING YOU KNOW, IN SO MANY WORDS, EXACTLY WHAT HE IS……………….IF YOU ARE RAISED BY COMMUNISTS, WHAT WILL BE THE END OF YOUR MENTAL STATE AS YOU BECOME OF AGE???
    DO YOU THINK YOU CAN JUST BE FREE AND LEAVE OTHER FOLKS THE HELL ALONE???
    “BY YOUR WORDS YOUR ARE JUSTIFIED. BY YOUR WORDS YOU ARE CONDEMNED..’JESUS CHRIST”.

  3. KOYOTE says:

    The Nazis under Adolf Hitler’s “final solution” killed an estimated 6 million Jews and others deemed undesirable by the German government, including gypsies, homosexuals and the disabled. It began slowly once Hitler rose to power, with Jews prevented from certain jobs and schools, and then the 1938 attack by Nazi gangs on Jewish homes, stores and synagogues known as Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass.”
    GYPSIES ARE JEWISH KABALISTS. MOST FAGS ARE JEWISH. “DISABLED PEOPLE WERE NOT TARGETED BY THE SS, UNLESS YOU WERE A CRIPPLED LOUD MOUTH JEW FAGGOT…….

    .JUST LIKE IN GERMANY, THERE WILL EVENTUALLY BE “ROVING AMERICAN GANGS” IN THE US. THE JEW WILL HAVE IT NO OTHER WAY………….THEY HAVE PLACED IT UPON THEMSELVES TO BE THE “SOLE OWNER” OF EARTH OR DIE, WHILE THE REBBES TRY AND USE THE “CURSED TORAH” TO JUSTIFY IT….
    SCRIPTURE STATES THAT THE “TORAH” (AND ITS 613 LAWS) ARE A CURSE…..
    al 3:10  For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not IN ALL THINGS which are written in the book of the law to do them. SEE THAT WORD “ALL”? IT MEANS…
    . A L L……….

    • KOYOTE says:

      LET US NOT FALL INTO ANARCHY, WHERE THE HEATHEN STEPS IN TO USE YOUR POWER AND RESOURCES AS THEY HAVE IN TIMES PAST.
      STAY AWAY FROM BLOODLUST , IN WHICH THERE IS NO PERPETRATOR OR VICTIM. IT ONLY SERVES DEATH. EVERY AMERICAN HAS THE RIGHT TO ANSWER FOR HIMSELF. SOME ARE JUST CONFUSED FOLLOWERS. SOME ARE JUST LAZY…..
      SAVE THE KILLING FOR THE COMMON LAW TRIALS AND COURTS,UNLESS YOU’RE IN DEFENSE OF YOU AND YOURS. IT IS UNAMERICAN TO PROMOTE ANARCHY AS THE KIKES DO.
      THERE IS SO MUCH EVIDENCE AGAINST THESE ZIONIST ASSHOLES, THAT IT WILL TAKE WEEKS FOR THAT PART OF THE PROCEEDINGS TO COME TO A CLOSE.
      IF THEY COME FOR YOU , “SHOOT THE SUIT”!
      or the highest ranking “officer’

  4. KOYOTE says:

    I EVENTUALLY EXPECT “ROVING GANGS” OF COMMIE PINKO BEANERS FIRST, ARMED BY THE LIKES OF DICKS SPORTING GOODS……………….
    THESE WILL FOMENT AMERICAN GANGS LIKE THE OLD “SKINHEADS”……… AND THE MILITANT WING OF THE “KKK”…. AS HENRY HAS SAID, “THIS IS GONNA BE A F@#KIN’ MESS”……..
    THE JEW AND HIS CORELIGIONIST WILL DANCE WITH GLEE THE DANCE OF LUCIFER.
    AT LEAST UNTIL THEY FACE THOSE 12 DITCH DIGGERS………….

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