House committee to hear from ICHEIC officials


The International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims will testify before a U.S. congressional committee.

The U.S. House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee is considering reopening Holocaust-era insurance claims. Last month the committee passed the Holocaust Era Accountability Act of 2007, which would effectively reopen claims settled earlier this year by the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims.

The Financial Services Committee will convene on Dec. 11 to consider the legislation.

ICHEIC addressed claims that European insurers failed to adequately seek claimants to policies held by Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.), the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee’s Europe subcommittee, is pushing the Act together with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.). Wexler convened a hearing in early October on his proposal, but failed to invite anyone from ICHEIC to testify, drawing an outraged letter from Lawrence Eagleburger, ICHEIC’s chairman and a former U.S. secretary of state.

ICHEIC says the reasoning behind the legislation is flawed, disputing claims by Wexler and Ros-Lehtinen that the commission only reached 5 percent of insurance claimants.

Additionally, ICHEIC advocates worry that overturning a painstaking reparation process wil discourage future such agreements.

The legislation must be considered by at least two other House committees, Financial Services and Oversight, before it goes to the full House.

The Dec. 11 hearing by the Financial Services Committee, headed by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), will call on ICHEIC officials to refute the claims promoted by Wexler and Ros-Lehtinen.

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