Here is the HSF Statement issued today, which states that the focus must now turn to Congress to set definitive rules about accountability for Nazi looting in U.S. courts.
HSF-USA Statement on Riots at the United States Capitol
January 10, 2021
As Holocaust survivors and descendants of survivors, we are profoundly saddened and angered by the violent attack on the United States Capitol and Congress to prevent our Nation’s sacred peaceful transition of power. It was an insurrection, an effort to overturn the people’s will in the November 3 election. For shame! We abhor the violence that threatens our ability to live together in the diverse, free, and democratic United States that we so deeply love.
It is also painful, in the year 2021, to see so many people brandishing symbols of anti-Semitism and racial bigotry, such as shirts glorifying the Holocaust, a gallows and noose, and the Confederate flag, as they attacked our Democracy. We appreciate President-Elect Biden’s clear denunciation of the anti-democratic riots, and his recognition of their anti-Semitic and racist elements.
Dangerous anti-Semitic conspiracies once confined to dark corners of the internet are gaining traction in “respectable” quarters, without clear condemnation by all who call themselves leaders. We have previously spoken out about the painful rise of anti-Jewish rhetoric and violence including murders at religious gatherings in Pittsburgh, Poway, Monsey, and in Europe as well.
We, the remaining voices for six million Jews who were murdered because of the “normalization” of these tactics in Nazi Germany and Europe, are speaking out to sound the alarm loud and clear. The poisonous political rhetoric from government leaders and media designed to arouse hateful passions, fan the flames of anger and violence, must be condemned by our leaders at every level, and by all of us in our families, businesses, religious institutions, and communities.
A few weeks ago, our friend and recently retired Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, gave a magnificent speech to the leadership of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, in which she was very clear about the imperative for governmental and community leadership to be more responsive to Holocaust survivors rights, needs and interests. She also spoke eloquently about the importance of steadfast support for the State of Israel in these perilous times. The Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA is extremely grateful for Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen’s commitment to Holocaust survivors and the safety and security of the State of Israel.
David Schaecter, HSF-USA President
As Holocaust survivors and descendants of Holocaust survivors, we are outraged and saddened that, once again, a Jewish community was brazenly attacked during worship services on Shabbat, which was also the last day of Passover. We send our deepest condolences to all affected by this tragedy, and prayers of healing and for a full recovery — refuach shelayma — to all.
“No One Should Be Gunned Down During Worship” — New York Times
“In the past 6 weeks, Churches, Mosques, a Synogogue have been attacked” — CNN
‘It Couldn’t Happen Here’ Is Proved Wrong, Again — the algemeiner
Holocaust memorial ceremony comes a day after shooting in California — Miami Herald
On Sunday, February 7, Holocaust survivors, their children and grandchildren and many strong supporters demonstrated outside the Broken Sound Country Club in Boca Raton, Florida, protesting German insurance giant Allianz, A.G., which has refused to pay claims under their families’ paid-for Holocaust era insurance policies to this day.
Explaining an aerial banner that flew over the tournament informing attendees that “Allianz Owes Holocaust Survivors $2.5 Billion,”Jack Rubin, a survivor of Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps who demonstrated on Sunday, stated: “It lifted my heart to see that banner in the sky to voice what the survivors feel so deeply. Most survivors are too old and frail to stand on the street and protest, so we decided to get the plane.
How can Allianz’s leadership sleep at night, when they spend millions of dollars for public relations like a golf tournament while tens of thousands of survivors are living in poverty and suffering every day without the care they need. Most of the spectators don’t realize the harm Allianz has caused, but if they did we believe they would join our demands for justice.”
HSF Protester Arrested
In addition, we are deeply troubled to report that Dr. Jay Lieberman, the son of Holocaust survivors and son-in-law of our beloved colleague Ivar Segalowitz who recently passed away, was arrested by Boca Raton Police at the tournament with a banner about Allianz’s dishonored policies. According to Dr. Lieberman: “Most of my father’s family was murdered in Treblinka. My father-in-law Ivar Segalowitz was the sole survivor of a wealthy Lithuanian family. He survived Dachau, Auschwitz-Birkenau, and Buchenwald, and served in the U.S. military after emigrating to this country.
Despite his mother, grandmother, aunt, and uncle’s names listed among German insurance holders, U.S. law barred him from going to court to reclaim his family legacy. Ivar’s daughter, Genie Lieberman, testified about Ivar in Congress before Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Ted Deutch in 2014. I bought a ticket to the event and was merely exercising my free speech rights to show how unfair it is that Allianz is prospering, but so many survivors are living in poverty.”
Historical Background About Allianz and Holocaust Era Policies
Allianz has refused to honor tens of thousands of insurance policies it had sold to Holocaust victims – demanding original policies, death certificates, and other documents no survivors could provide after the horrors of the expulsions, ghettos, killing fields, and death camps. Today those policies are worth over $2.5 billion.
It is historical fact that Allianz closely collaborated with the German Nazi regime, as its CEO Kurt Schmitt was Hitler’s second Minister of Economics. Allianz insured Reich factories, barracks, motor pools, ghettos, and death camps — including Auschwitz and Dachau – while Allianz was selling life insurance policies to Jewish families in Europe.
Instead of honoring its insurance policies, Allianz has cynically paid millions of dollars in a massive public relations effort for this golf tournament, sponsorship of Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, CNBC, MSNBC, Marketplace Morning Report, and “partnerships” with AAA, the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, and others.
Allianz was in secret talks to pay $300 million bid for naming rights to the new Meadowlands stadium in 2008 which were halted by the outrage of New York citizens after the negotiations were revealed.
Outrageously, Allianz continues to spend millions of dollars onWashington lobbyists to block our basic constitutional right to go to federal court to recover for paid up insurance policies of our families which are after all legal contracts our loved ones paid for in good faith.
What other Americans are denied these basic rights? Why is the Obama Administration, not helping us Holocaust survivors get our insurance money back, and instead slamming the doors of the courthouse in our face and supporting Allianz and other insurance profiteers such as Italy’s Generali against us?
Congress must enact legislation this session restoring our full legal rights as U.S. citizens to force these insurance companies to pay their bargained-for debts.
How can it be that the tragedy continues that half of the Holocaust survivors in the United States and worldwide live in poverty, unable to afford food, medicine, dental care, eyeglasses, hearing aids, and home care.
Germany is responsible to care for all survivors, but is forcing survivors to live in misery and protecting Allianz’s Holocaust profits at the same time.
WE Holocaust survivors’ demand that Allianz and their affiliates:
- Publish the names of all Allianz and affiliates’ insurance policy holders between 1920 and 1945 on the internet.
- Publish all insurance records of Nazi German institutions including, the SS, concentration and death camp, and personnel and all other war related business between 1933 and 1945.
- Immediately cease any lobbying against Holocaust survivors and heirs to bring legal action in U.S. courts.
- Disgorge $2.5 billion, representing its unjust enrichment from unpaid insurance policies from the Holocaust, to be paid to beneficiaries and heirs and to fund social services for Holocaust survivors in need worldwide.
We believe we will receive justice from the American People now to stop these horrible tragedies now.
The sponsoring organizations of the protests were the Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA (www.hsf-usa.org), Shalom International (www.defendjerusalem.net), and NEXT GENERATIONS (www.nextgenerations.org), and Generations of the Shoah, International (www.genshoah.org).
For more information see this 2013 report by Huffington Post Live: huff.lv/VVInCv .
The Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA Executive Committee:
Israel Arbeiter, Boston MA
Dena Axelrod, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Renee Firestone, Los Angeles, CA
Ella Frumkin, Los Angeles, CA
Nesse Godin, Washington D.C.
Jay Ipson, Richmond, VA
Louise Lawrence-Israels, Washington D.C.
Herbert Karliner, Miami Beach, FL
Annette Lantos, Washington, D.C.
David Mermelstein, Miami FL
Alex Moskovic, Hobe Sound, FL
Leo Rechter, Queens, NY
Jack Rubin, Boynton Beach, FL
David Schaecter, Miami, FL
Anita Schuster, Las Vegas NV
Agnes Vertes, Weston, CT
Esther Widman, Brooklyn NY