Judge’s Dismissal of U.S. Lawsuits Conditioned on Holocaust Payments

December 12, 2000

U.S. Judge Michael Mukasey ordered a conditional dismissal of lawsuits brought by Holocaust survivors and their families against several German insurers, who have failed to pay claims from Nazi-era insurance policies.

The judge indicated that the suits could be reinstated if further progress wasn’t made by the companies in cooperation with the International Commission on Holocaust-era Insurance Claims, which has been working to coordinate payments of life and property policies dating from World War II.

The dismissals had been demanded by the German companies as a condition to their paying into a $5 billion fund established by the German government to compensate victims of the Nazi era. The companies have agreed to pay $2.5 billion, with the German government paying the rest.

The ruling mainly affected claims against Gerling and Munich Re, who have agreed to pay into the fund, but have so far not formally joined the ICHEIC, as have a number of other European insurance companies.

Various advocacy groups promised to keep up the pressure on the German and Austrian insurers to join the Commission.

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