Please note that all filing deadlines have expired. No new claims to Swiss bank
accounts may be filed.
For the most recent distribution data relating to the Deposited Assets Class, please
. Every decision recommended by the CRT and authorized by the Court is published on
the Internet. The decisions may be accessed
Many of the determinations in the Distribution Plan with respect to the Deposited
Assets Class were based upon the results of a three-year investigation of Swiss
banks conduced by the Independent Committee of Eminent Persons (“ICEP” or otherwise
known as “Volcker Committee
The Volcker Committee identified at least 36,000 accounts “probably” or “possibly”
belonging to Nazi victims or their heirs. Calculating known or estimated account
values, the 36,000 accounts were estimated to be worth between $643 million and
$1.36 billion, including interest, in then-current dollars. In recognition of the
number and value of identifiable Holocaust victim accounts provided in the Volcker
Report, the priority the Settlement Agreement places upon bank accounts, and the
legal and historical strength of the claims, the Distribution Plan set aside up
to $800 million of the $1.25 billion settlement for awards to Deposited Assets class
The Volcker Committee’s determinations were relevant not only to the value placed
upon the Deposited Assets Class claims but also to the claims process. The Volcker
Committee concluded that approximately 6.8 million Swiss bank accounts had been
opened or open during the Holocaust era, of which records relating to some 2.7 million
accounts had been destroyed. The Committee recommended that the remaining 4.1 million
accounts be consolidated into a “Total Accounts Database” for use in a claims process
on behalf of Nazi victims or heirs. Swiss banking authorities did not accept that
recommendation. However, Swiss authorities did accept the Volcker Committee’s recommendation
to publish some 21,000 accounts deemed to have probably or possibly belonged to
Holocaust victims, and to make available to the claims process another 15,000 unpublished
accounts, resulting in an available database of 36,000 accounts (the “Account History
Database” or “AHD”).
On December 8, 2000
, Judge Korman
appointed Paul Volcker and Michael Bradfield, former Chairman and Counsel, respectively
of ICEP, as Special Masters to establish, organize and supervise the Claims Resolution
Process, using the already existing Claims Resolution Tribunal (CRT) as the Court-supervised
administrative agent responsible for processing of Deposited Assets claims. On April 13, 2004
, Judge Korman appointed
international economist Helen B. Junz, formerly a member of the Bergier Commission,
as an additional CRT Special Master. Mr. Volcker is no longer serving as CRT Special
Master due to his commitment to the United Nations “food-for-oil” investigation.
The CRT was initially established in 1997 to arbitrate claims to 5,570 dormant accounts
in Swiss banks that were published in 1997 prior to the completion of the ICEP investigation.
That arbitration process is now referred to as “CRT-I.” The accounts adjudicated
by CRT-I dated from 1933 to 1945 and remained open and dormant. Those accounts were
owned both by Victims of Nazi Persecution and others who were not persecuted. CRT-I
adjudicated over 9,000 claims to accounts published in 1997. The CRT-I process ultimately
awarded approximately 207 accounts totaling $18.2 million to Victims of Nazi persecution
or their heirs. Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, CRT-I payments to Victims of
Nazi persecution or their heirs were payable from the Settlement Fund.
The second phase of CRT operations (CRT-II) began in connection with the processing
of claims submitted in connection with the Settlement Agreement. On February 5,
2001, a list was published of approximately 21,000 Swiss bank accounts deemed by
the Volcker Committee to “probably” or “possibly” belong to Nazi victims. On January
13, 2005, following ongoing negotiations with the defendant banks, an additional
list of approximately 2,700 names of Account Owners and 400 names of Power of Attorney
holders was published (the “2005 List”). The deadlines for submitting claims
related to the 2001 and 2005 Lists have expired.
In total, approximately 105,000 claims were filed in connection with the 2001 and 2005
Lists (including approximately 32,000 claim forms filed in connection with the 2001
published list, approximately 2,000 claim forms filed in connection with the 2005 list,
approximately 70,000 Initial Questionnaires which have been determined to satisfy the
requirements of Judge Korman's July 31, 2001 Order and approximately 4,600 claims that
were submitted on behalf of “victims or targets of Nazi persecution” that were filed
with entities authorized to treat these claims prior to the Settlement Agreement:
ICEP, Ernst & Young, and CRT-I (as per Judge Korman's December 30, 2004 Order)).
Although the CRT continues to process these claims, the deadline for filing claims has expired.
The CRT Claims Process
Guided by the principle adopted under the Distribution Plan that individual claims
to deposited assets in Swiss banks must be individually assessed, the Court has
adopted rules to govern the CRT process to set forth guidelines for the resolution
of claims within a mass claims process while maintaining the benefits of due process
of law. Please click here
to see the Rules Governing the Claims Resolution Process, as amended (“the Rules”).
The Rules grant the CRT jurisdiction over claims to Deposited Assets owned by “Victims
or Targets of Nazi persecution,” in accordance with the terms of the Settlement
Agreement, which defines that term as any individual who was persecuted or targeted
for persecution by the Nazi regime because he or she was or was believed to be Jewish,
Romani, Jehovah’s Witness, homosexual, or physically or mentally disabled or handicapped.
The CRT reviews each claim to determine whether the claimed account owner was a
member of one of these five categories. If a claim is deemed inadmissible, the Claimant
will be notified. A Claimant whose claim has been ruled inadmissible has the right
to appeal this decision by writing to the CRT within 90 days.
All admissible claims are matched against the 36,000-account AHD. These matches
are then reviewed to determine whether the person identified in the claim form as
the claimant’s relative is the person plausibly identified in the bank records as the Account
Owner. Reviewers consider such important factors including as the Account Owner's
city and country of residence, profession, marital status, and family member names.
Claimants who have not plausibly identified their relative as the Account Owner
are notified and may appeal the CRT's decision in accordance with the CRT Rules.
Accounts that are determined through the matching process to have belonged to a
claimant’s relative are then reviewed to determine whether the claimant’s relative
previously has received the proceeds of the account. The Rules specify presumptions
used by the CRT to determine whether the Account Owner or his or her heirs received
the proceeds. Among the presumptions upon which the CRT is the “adverse inference,”
which under United States law authorizes the CRT to draw an inference against the
banks and in favor of claimants where documentary evidence was destroyed or is not
provided to assist the claims administrators. For a more detailed discussion of
the “adverse inference,” please click here to read Judge Korman’s opinion concerning
the Swiss banks’ behavior during and after the Holocaust
If the CRT finds it plausible that the Account Owner or his or her heirs did not
receive the proceeds of the claimed account, it then analyzes the banks’ records
regarding the account to determine its type and value. The amount of the award is
based upon the historic value of the account, adjusted for fees and interest. If
the actual value of an account is unknown, the CRT relies on the results of the
ICEP investigation as to the average value of the same or similar type of account
during the time period from 1933 to 1945. As of August 25, 2003, all account values
are multiplied by a standard factor of 12.5 to adjust them to current values. The
CRT also determines how the account proceeds are to be divided among the claimant
and any party he or she may represent.
The Court reviews and approves all decisions with the assistance of the Special
Masters. Claimants to Court-approved awards are required to sign acknowledgement
forms which release their claims to the awarded accounts and obligate them to share
the award amount with any other heirs of the Account Owner who may be entitled to
the proceeds of the account under the CRT Rules.
On February 17, 2006, Judge Korman adopted the proposal submitted by Special Master
Judah Gribetz and Deputy Special Master Shari Reig recommending that payments be
made to claimants who have demonstrated plausible claims to Holocaust-era Swiss
bank accounts for which no bank records have been located (“Plausible Undocumented
Awards” or “PUAs”). The PUAs rely upon the principle that it is inappropriate to
penalize claimants for lack of documentation when it was the banks’ obligation to
preserve such records
. Each PUA is in the
amount of $5,000.
On March 21, 2006, Special Master Junz filed a memorandum proposing an adjustment
to the presumptive values currently used by the CRT to establish award amounts for
accounts with unknown values. Special Master Junz studied the presumptive values
employed in the award process as recommended by the Volcker Committee auditors.
She compared those amounts to the average known values for actual awarded accounts,
as well as the accounts of known value contained in the 36,000-account AHD. Special
Master Junz recommended that the presumptive values used by the CRT to award accounts
for which balances are unknown be altered to make it “more representative of the
universe of awardable accounts.”
Special Master Junz filed three subsequent reports analyzing the presumptive values currently in use in the Deposited Assets Class claims process on May 14, 2007
, July 15, 2007
and October 10, 2008. Her reports were described by Special Master Judah Gribetz and Deputy Special Master Shari C. Reig in the following two submissions: CRT Special Master Junz' Proposal for Adjustment of Deposited Assets Class Presumptive Values in the Context of the Settlement Agreement and the Distribution Plan,” December 19, 2008.
; CRT Special Master Junz' Proposal for Adjustment of Deposited Assets Class Presumptive Values: Supplemental Contextual Analysis," April 9, 2009.
After considering Special Master Junz' reports as well as objections submitted by the State of Israel and the Holocaust Survivors' Foundation-USA, Judge Korman issued an order approving upward adjustment of presumptive values used in the claims resolution process for the Deposited Assets Class, and also authorizing additional payments for Deposited Assets Class plausible undocumented awards ("PUAs") on June 16, 2010
For more information on the CRT process, please visit the CRT website at www.crt-ii.org
For information relating to the CRT-I claims process, please visit http://www.crt-ii.org/_crt-i/
The Rules Governing the Claims Resolution Process can be found