Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Nazi fund unfair to Yanks - att'y

NY Daily News
Nazi fund unfair to Yanks - att'y

About $735 million of a $1.25 billion settlement of a Holocaust lawsuit against Swiss banks has been paid out to victims, a lawyer said yesterday in Manhattan federal court, while another argued American Jews are losing out in the deal.

After Burt Neuborne updated the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on the status of the settlement, Samuel Dubbin, an attorney for some Holocaust victims, urged the court to reject a lower court's decision to distribute money according to how badly victims need it.

That system, Dubbin said, sends too much money to those who live in countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union, where 75% of the neediest victims reside.

He said the formula leaves about 4% of the funds for U.S. victims, even though the U.S. population has about 20% of the world's Holocaust survivors. Another 40% live in Israel, he said.

"There are people living in Brooklyn who have to choose between food, shelter and medicine," he said.

Neuborne said there is no perfect system to distribute the funds. "Virtually everybody in Europe was looted in one way or another by the Nazis," he said.

The 1998 settlement only affects money that moved through Swiss banks. The survivors and their families accused the banks of stealing, concealing or sending to the Nazis hundreds of millions of dollars in Jewish holdings and destroying records to cover the paper trail.

The settlement involved the release of all claims against the banks. The appeals court did not immediately rule on the distributions.