Please note that the deadline to receive benefits as a member of the Looted Assets Class under the Swiss Banks Holocaust Settlement (In re Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation) has expired.
Distribution data for the Looted Assets Class may be accessed here
Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, the Looted Assets Class consisted of
those claimants whose assets were looted by the Nazis and disposed of or transacted
through Switzerland or Swiss entities. Given this broad definition, virtually every
individual who lived under or fled from Nazi occupation was a class member, since
virtually every such person may be presumed to have been looted by the Nazis.
The Special Masters concluded that neither a case-by-case adjudication nor a pro rata distribution was acceptable, due to the large size of the Class, coupled with the impossibility of determining whether specific property was transacted through a Swiss entity. Relying on legal precedent, and in view of the practical considerations, the Distribution Plan recommended a cy pres remedy for those most in need of assistance. The assessment of need was based upon analysis of demographic, mortality and social welfare data from a variety of academic experts, governmental statistics, and other sources.
The Distribution Plan provided that the neediest class
members (all of whom were presumed to have been victims of Nazi looting, the proceeds
of which may have been transacted through Switzerland) were to benefit from humanitarian
aid programs providing food, medicine, shelter and similar assistance. For more
information on the Looted Assets Class, please refer to Annex G of the Distribution
The Distribution Plan originally allocated $100 million to needy survivors, to be distributed over a period of ten years. As a result of unanticipated tax relief and interest earned on the Settlement Fund, the Court approved the Special Masters’ recommendation to allocate additional amounts to these programs, with the result that over $259 million in assistance was provided to the neediest survivors over a fifteen-year period. Of that sum, $233 million was designated for the assistance of needy Jewish survivors, and $26 million was designated for needy Roma, Jehovah’s Witness, homosexual and disabled survivors, based upon demographic data and historical precedent. In total, Looted Assets Class funds assisted over 237,000 Holocaust victims.
The humanitarian programs were implemented, managed and/or monitored by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference), for needy Jewish Nazi victims. Funds from the Swiss Banks Holocaust Settlement augmented (but did not replace) already-existing grants supporting these programs. In addition, Looted Assets Class funds supported programs that were developed, implemented and monitored by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), on behalf of needy Roma, Jehovah’s Witness, homosexual and disabled Nazi victims.