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Survivors’ group lobbies against Holocaust bill

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An American Holocaust survivors’ group reiterated its opposition to a congressional bill on wartime insurance policies.

The American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants, in a letter last week to U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the chairman of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, urged the rejection of a bill paving the way for lawsuits against European insurance companies.

The Holocaust Insurance Accountability Act  is under consideration by the committee. It would open the door to lawsuits against European insurers who defaulted on policies held by Jewish victims of the Nazis.

Several major Jewish organizations have actively opposed the bill, arguing it would undermine ongoing restitution negotiations with European governments. But proponents argue that the bill remedies the supposed failures of a commissiom established to address the insurance issue but which paid out only a fraction of some estimates of the value of prewar Jewish policies.

“The legislation will, in the end, deeply disappoint survivors by creating lofty expectations of insurance payments for many which will, at best, occur for only a few,” the group wrote. “Even the handful of survivors who might successfully overcome the onerous evidentiary and other legal burdens posed by a lawsuit will, most likely, not live to see the result.”

 

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