28 February 2007
A judge in the United States has finally approved a settlement involving Holocaust victims, their heirs and an Italian insurance company. The deal ends a lawsuit brought a decade ago. US district Judge George B. Daniels announced his approval after listening to lawyers from all sides, including an attorney for six objectors who insisted the deal with Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali would deny justice for tens of thousands of victims. "The settlement is not perfect, but is hard to imagine any recovery for Holocaust victims after 60 years could be just compensation," Daniels said according to a report by AFX News. Under the deal, Generali will accept new claims until the end of March, even though it has already paid US$ 135 million to settle claims. So far, 3,300 persons have made fresh claims, which might entitle them to payouts under an international commission's formula. Lawyers said an average of US$ 25,000 was expected to be paid out per claim. If the sealed Nazi archives in Bad Arolsen, Germany, are opened and new insurance records are discovered, the date to file claims may be extended until August 2008, according to the settlement. Marco E. Schnabl, a lawyer for Generali, said the company was pleased, though it was unclear if it would have to continue to fight objectors to the settlement in courts. Samuel Dubbin, a lawyer for six victims objecting to the plan, said his clients would have to decide whether to appeal.