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Rubio, Bipartisan Colleagues Reintroduce Legislation to Restore Holocaust Survivors’ Rights
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Rick Scott (R-FL), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) introduced the Holocaust Insurance Accountability Act. The legislation would allow beneficiaries of Holocaust-era insurance policies to bring civil action in U.S. district courts against the insurer for the covered policy to recover proceeds due or otherwise enforce any rights under the policy. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Most recently, Rubio reintroduced the Holocaust Insurance Accountability Act in the 116th Congess. Rubio previously introduced the legislation in the 112th, 114th, and 115th Congress with former Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL).
“The Holocaust remains humanity’s darkest hour, leaving a permanent stain on history for all nations,” Rubio said. “Congress must continue to do everything we can to support survivors and their families. It is unthinkable that a large number of Holocaust-era insurance claims remain unpaid. It is far past time that survivors and their families retrieve what they are rightfully owed.”
“Never Again means never forgetting those who survived the horrors of the Holocaust,” Rosen said. “I’m proud to help reintroduce this important bipartisan legislation to ensure Holocaust survivors and their family members have a fair chance to have their Holocaust-era insurance claim cases heard. Restoring Holocaust survivors’ rights takes on new urgency with every year that passes without justice. I will continue working in Congress to provide Holocaust survivors with full support and the resources they need to live their lives with the dignity and care they deserve.”
“I’m proud to join my colleagues to re-introduce the Holocaust Insurance Accountability Act to continue our support for survivors and their families,” Scott said. “The Holocaust is more than a history lesson, it is a stark reminder that evil and hate exist in this world. Our memory and support of all of those who suffered must never weaken. Every generation must heed the call to action in the face of evil, and as U.S. Senator, I will continue to support Israel and take action against those who wish to do them harm.”
“The horrors of the Holocaust are still engrained in all our minds, which calls us to legislative action on behalf of the survivors and their families,” Sasse said. “Many survivors are still owed insurance claims to this day, which is totally unacceptable. Congress needs to fix this oversight and take care of the survivors and their families.”
“Holocaust survivors endured one of the darkest moments in the history of the world. Insurers have no business profiting off of their pain and hardship,” Cramer said. “Our bill gives survivors and their beneficiaries a way to receive the money they are owed.”
“It is the victims of the Holocaust and their families who should be the heirs to unpaid policies that were set aside for times of trouble – not the insurance companies,” Wasserman Schultz said. “This legislation would help restore the rights of families who were forced to endure the worst that humanity can inflict on a people.”
“Preventing Holocaust survivors and their families from collecting on documented policies is truly tragic, but allowing these global insurance corporations to hold onto this unjust enrichment is an offensive re-victimization that cannot stand,” Wasserman Schultz said.
“Holocaust survivors are very grateful to Senators Rubio, Rosen, and Scott, and Representatives Wasserman Schultz, Zeldin, and Garamendi, for leading Congress in the quest for accountability from the insurers who betrayed our families. No one can ever repay us for the murder and destruction of the Holocaust. Yet, insurers that profited from the Holocaust, like Allianz, Generali, AXA and others, have never been held accountable. These companies owe more than $25 billion to Holocaust victims, while so many survivors are living in poverty and misery, enduring suffering that should have never been allowed. This vital legislation will allow survivors, and our children and grandchildren, to recover our family histories and legacies. Equally as important, it will expose details about the insurers’ history of collaboration with Nazi authorities,” David Schaecter, of Miami, President of the Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA said.
“Holocaust survivors are in shock that the U.S. government took away our rights to go to an American court. Insurance policies are contracts, not charity. How would those State and Justice Department officials, and those Judges, feel, if they lost everything, and then their own government said they couldn’t even go to court like every other American citizen? They wouldn’t stand for it, and we shouldn’t have to, either. So, we are very thankful to Senators Rubio, Rosen, and Scott, and Representatives Wasserman Schultz, Zeldin, and Garamendi, for being our voice in Congress to change the law and restore our rights. You are our last hope for justice,” David Mermelstein, President of the Holocaust Survivors of Miami-Dade County said.
“We thank all the elected officials, including Senator Rosen, who are pursuing Holocaust era insurance on behalf of the Holocaust survivor community. Too much time has already passed and our families are still waiting for the opportunity to pursue justice. We look to legislative action for relief.,” said Esther Finder, President, and Ray Fiol, Past President, of the Holocaust Survivors Group of Southern Nevada.
“As I told the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2012, it was inhumane and criminal for insurers to demand death certificates and original documents, as they did, from Holocaust survivors. It is worse that survivors today, many of whom, after emerging from the depths of hell, came here and served in the American military, are being deprived by our own government of our constitutional right to seek redress to claim what is rightfully ours. To those who would oppose us, I want to be clear: I am now 96. The Holocaust is not an abstraction – it was real and remains so for survivors and our families. That is why we are very thankful to our California Congressman John Garamendi, as well as Reps. Wasserman Schultz and Zeldin, and Senators Rosen, Rubio, and Scott, for leading this fight for justice,” said Renee Firestone, of Los Angeles, CA.
“The only questions are whether Holocaust survivors, after all we endured, should remain second class citizens under U.S. law, and whether global insurers like Allianz, Generali, AXA, and others should be the heirs to the victims of the Holocaust. The answers are obvious. Survivors are in our late 80s and 90s, many are living in poverty as noted, and we should not have to wait any longer for this already-delayed justice. Our thanks to New York Representative Zeldin and his Representatives Wasserman Schultz and Garamendi, and Senators Rubio, Rosen, and Scott, for leading this long-overdue effort,” said Esther Widman, of Brooklyn, NY, President of the National Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors.
- March 26, 2018: Rubio, Baldwin Lead 59 Senators in Calling on Polish Government to Ensure Justice for Holocaust Victims and their Families
- December 5, 2017: Rubio, Baldwin Advance Bill to Help Holocaust Survivors
- July 7, 2016: Rubio, Baldwin Introduce Bill To Help Holocaust Survivors And Families Of Holocaust Victims