hide The Swiss Banks Holocaust Settlement claims program is now closed, and this website is no longer being updated. It remains online through the assistance of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. This program was operated by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, beginning with the class action lawsuits filed in 1996 and completed with the last distributions to claimants in 2020. This website contains information about the Swiss Banks Holocaust litigation, settlement and distribution process, the Special Masters’ filings including the proposed Distribution Plan and the Final Report, as well as links to the Court’s decisions and other relevant filings and materials.

Slave Labor Class I

Please note that the deadline to file a Slave Labor Class I claim has expired.
Distribution data concerning Slave Labor Class I may be accessed here.
Slave Labor Class I consisted of those claimants who performed slave labor for German and other companies which may have transacted their profits through Swiss entities. For more information on Slave Labor Class I, please refer to Annex H of the Distribution Plan.
Studying the research of the leading scholars and based upon other sources, the Special Masters concluded that the Nazi regime had exploited the slave labor of hundreds of thousands of Victims or Targets of Nazi Persecution in every corner of its realm. In addition, the Special Masters analyzed the International Tracing Service’s Catalogue of Camps and Prisons in Germany and Germany-Occupied Territories, Sept. 1, 1939-May 8, 1945, which also contained names of the many thousands of German entities that used slave labor, and compared the Catalogue to the Volcker Committee’s list of German persons or entities that had a Swiss bank account at the time of Switzerland’s February 16, 1945 asset freeze. This analysis demonstrated that virtually all slave labor-using entities maintained banking ties in Switzerland, or owned other assets in Switzerland. This evidence, in turn, supported the presumption that virtually all German companies that employed slave labor also transacted the revenues or proceeds of this labor through Switzerland.
Therefore, the Court adopted a presumption recommended by the Special Masters: that all Victims or Targets of Nazi Persecution who performed slave labor for private entities, entities owned or controlled by the state or Nazi authorities, or by the concentration camp and ghetto authorities, were members of Slave Labor Class I. This presumption helped to streamline the distribution process by enabling the Court to utilize the same administrative agents, and adhere closely to the procedures, adopted by contemporaneous slave and forced labor compensation programs involving Germany and Austria: in Germany, the Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” (“German Foundation”), and in Austria, the “Austrian Reconciliation Fund” (“Austrian Foundation”). The Swiss Banks Holocaust Settlement’s Slave Labor Class I payments supplemented the awards authorized under the German and Austrian programs.
The Swiss Banks Holocaust Settlement Distribution Plan originally provided for payments of $1,000 each (subsequently increased to $1,450) to surviving slave laborers, or to their heirs, if the former slave laborer died on or after February 16, 1999.
Under the Distribution Plan, the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) reviewed claims submitted by Jewish Nazi victims, while the review process for Roma, Jehovah’s Witness, homosexual and disabled Nazi victims was conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Each organization submitted its recommendations for review and approval by the Special Masters, and then the Court.
More than 198,000 surviving former slave laborers and certain of their heirs have received approximately $280 million in payments from the Settlement Fund. This includes more than $249 million for nearly 174,000 Jewish victims. Nearly 98% of these individuals also were approved for additional compensation through the slave and forced laborer compensation programs operated by the German and Austrian Foundations. The approximately $280 million distributed to members of Slave Labor Class I also includes nearly $31 million to over 24,000 Roma victims, as well as victims who were Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexual, or disabled, most of whom had never received previous Holocaust compensation.
For a sample of the Holocaust-era experiences of some of the Jewish slave laborers, summaries of their claims can be accessed here.
For a sample of the Holocaust-era experiences of some of the Roma, Jehovah’s Witness, homosexual or disabled victims, summaries of their claims can be accessed here.