German Bank Helped Nazis Steal
Austria’s two largest private banks have agreed to turn over mounds of documents alleging that Germany’s Deutsche Bank helped the Nazis steal money from Jewish Holocaust victims in Poland and the Balkans following the Anschluss in 1938, the German annexation of Austria, according to a source close to the deal.
The banks, Bank Austria and Creditanstalt, are also said to be close to agreeing to settle Holocaust-era claims against them for a figure the source said was expected to be in the “tens of millions of dollars.” The suits claim the banks profited from the sale of victims’ gold.
Access by Jewish groups to the documents may be critical in their efforts to block Deutsche Bank’s planned merger with Bankers Trust until the German bank settles survivors’
claims. Survivors and Jewish groups are said to be prepared to seek hundreds of millions of dollars in material and moral restitution. Deutsche Bank has acknowledged holding $2.51 million worth of Nazi victim’s gold and has promised to turn it over to Jewish groups in the United States.
In another development, a French commission has found that five American banks that operated in France during the Holocaust looted the accounts of about 100 Jews and turned an undisclosed amount of money over to Nazi occupiers. It identified the banks as Chase — now Chase Manhattan Bank — Guaranty Trust Co. of New York, Bank of the City of New York, American Express and J.P. Morgan.
A spokesman for the French National Deposit Bank said that after the war, about two-thirds of the money was returned to their owners or their heirs. He said, however, that about $3.5 million stripped from Jews at the Drancy transit camp is still being held by the state. About 75,000 Jews, including 12,000 children, were processed through Drancy before shipment to Auschwitz. Only 2,500 survived.
The French commission recommended that lifetime pensions be provided to the 10,000 Jewish children orphaned during the war. If approved, it would be the first monetary award to French-born children of foreign Jews who suffered persecution and deportation.
Rabbi Honored For Civil Rights Leadership
Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the New York Board of Rabbis and a longtime advocate for better black-Jewish relations, was honored recently at a ceremony at the Israeli embassy in Washington.
Rabbi Schneier, co-founder and president of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, and Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, were feted at the annual Martin Luther King commemoration sponsored by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, a group that has made civil rights a primary focus.
The rabbi’s group, founded in 1989, publishes an annual report on black-Jewish relations. Henderson has been an active proponent of enhanced hate crimes legislation, as well as leader of the nation’s leading civil rights umbrella organization. Both represent “a new generation coming together in a struggle to build ‘the beloved community’ frequently referred to by Dr. King,” said Rabbi David Saperstein, the RAC’s director.