New York State
Insurance Department

Governor Pataki Seeks Justice For Holocaust Victims;
Major Investigation Is Launched Into European Insurers


August 13, 1997

Governor George E. Pataki today directed Superintendent of Insurance Neil D. Levin to launch a major investigation into European insurance companies and their failure to compensate Holocaust victims and their families, continuing his efforts to seek justice for these citizens.

The Insurance Department will initially identify those insurance companies that wrote policies throughout Europe from 1933 to 1945 and Superintendent Levin will meet with their chief executive officers by the beginning of September.

"Those who experienced the atrocities of the Holocaust and who were once powerless as the world stood by and watched, no longer stand alone," Governor Pataki said. "I have asked Superintendent Levin to communicate to these insurance companies my sense of urgency and import in the need to establish a process which will allow people to recover what is rightfully theirs."

In May, Governor Pataki signed an Executive Order establishing the New York State Commission on the Recovery of Holocaust Victims’ Assets that expanded and formalized the efforts in New York State Government to identify the unclaimed assets of Holocaust victims which may have been deposited in Swiss bank accounts.

Superintendent Levin, who chairs the Commission said, "As former Superintendent of Banks I led Governor Pataki’s efforts to obtain an accounting from Swiss Banks on the assets that were withheld from Holocaust victims and their heirs. I am pleased that now as Superintendent of Insurance I can further Governor Pataki’s commitment to obtaining justice and I will do everything in my power to ensure that justice is served."

Governor Pataki has also established the Holocaust Claims Processing Office within the New York State Banking Department to assist Holocaust victims and their families in filing claims against Swiss Banks. Superintendent Levin will be working with Acting Superintendent of Banks Elizabeth McCaul to expand the efforts of the office to assist claimants seeking recoveries from European insurance companies.

The Holocaust Claims Processing Office, which will open later this month, will be located within the Banking Department’s offices at 2 Rector Street in lower Manhattan. The office can be reached at (800) 695-3318.


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