September 27, 2013
Contact: Matt Anderson, 212-709-1691
Note: A previous version of this press release stated that Mrs. Fielden will receive the full estate. She will receive a portion of the estate. There are additional heirs who will also receive portions of the estate.
SUPERINTENDENT LAWSKY ANNOUNCES $1.9 MILLION ESTATE RECOVERED FOR HEIRS OF FAMILY PERSECUTED DURING NAZI ERA
DFS Worked for Years to Help Compensate Heirs of Nazi-seized Family Business
Benjamin M. Lawsky, Superintendent of Financial Services, today announced that the Department of Financial Services' (DFS) Holocaust Claims Processing Unit (HCPO) has helped recover a $1.9 million estate for the heirs of a Nazi-seized family linen factory. HCPO worked directly with one of the heirs Mrs. Evelyn Fielden, 92, who will receive a portion of the estate.
Benjamin M. Lawsky Superintendent of Financial Services said: "Recovering these funds for Mrs. Fielden is a small but meaningful step toward righting a terrible injustice. We will continue our aggressive work assisting victims of Nazi persecution and their families."
DFS's Holocaust Claims Processing Office (HCPO) first opened an insurance claim for Mrs. Fielden in 1999. HCPO subsequently found a potential match for the Nazi-seized property owned by her family through Germany's Holocaust restitution fund, the Goodwill Fund. The HCPO then contacted Fielden to assist her with the submission of her claim and has worked with the Goodwill Fund on Mrs. Fielden's case.
The Nazi-seized property involved in this case is named Julius Bendix Söhne, – a linen factory established in Berlin in 1870 by three brothers, Max, George and Hugo Bendix, with subsequent locations in Silesia and Bohemia. Eventually the brothers' children, including Frederick, the claimant’s father, took over Julius Bendix Söhne, which had grown to 2,000 employees and sold its products worldwide.
The Bendix factory was well known for its fair treatment of employees and its excellent working atmosphere, which included perks such as housing and libraries for its employees. The Bendix factory received distinction in their field; their business rivaled linen producers based in Ireland. Between 1938 and 1939, the Bendix family was forced to turn their company over to the Nazis.
Frederick (Fritz) Bendix lived in Berlin with his wife Johanna and their daughters, Ingeborg Logan and Evelyn Fielden. After the family business was seized, a friend's parents sponsored Evelyn and Ingeborg to immigrate to England. They left with little more than the clothing on their backs.
Fritz and Johanna escaped Germany a few years after, in 1941, when Fritz obtained a visa to Moscow. From there, they traveled along the trans-Siberian railroad and eventually to Shanghai, China. They finally arrived in the United States on a passenger ship from Japan in September of 1941. Their daughters joined them in 1944. Fritz Bendix died in 1952, followed by Johanna in 1964, and Ingeborg in 1998.
Since being formed in 1997, the Holocaust Claims Processing Office has advocated on the behalf of Holocaust Victims and their heirs. The HCPO has facilitated the restitution of more than $165 million in assets, including bank accounts, insurance policies, businesses, and artwork to their original owners.