tv Hearing on Holocaust- Era Insurance Claims CSPAN September 19, 2019 4:46pm-6:07pm EDT
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>> holocaust survivor testified that this week about holocaust era interest times. the senate committee is looking at both of legislation is need it to process flames that were not adequately addressed. by the international commission on holocaust era interest times before it closed in 2007. senator lindsey graham shows the committee. >> today's hearing is going to be holocaust era interest flames. what to do about it. difficult topic in many ways but i am glad we are having the hearing. senator feinstein, i really i won't have an opening statement to refer to you.
>> for small thank you mr. chairman, for holding this hearing and today were discussing holocaust era insurance flames. it's interesting, before and during the second world war, many europeans purchased insurance policies to protect their assets and loved ones. while many of these individuals perished as victims of the holocaust. those who survived, and the errors of those who did not have since attempted to collect the proceeds from those policies. however, beneficiaries have found it difficult to collect on these policies. because the paperwork had often been left behind were destroyed during the genocide. to remedy this injustice, american insurance regulators, european insurance companies, the state of israel, and jewish
and survivor organizations in 1998, established by check, si ch ch eic. the international commission on holocaust era insurance flames. the mandate, very interesting, twofold. first, i checked with identified holocaust victims who purchase insurance policies. second, i checked with administered the repayment of those policies using relaxed standards of proof. so the claimants who lack documentation, or face other barriers to repayment, could still receive some measure of justice. i checked actually facilitated the payment of over $300 million to almost 48000 holocaust survivors. their heirs and the families of holocaust victims.
i checked paid an additional 11,609,000,000 towards humanitarian programs benefiting holocaust survivors. all of this was done at no cost to the claimants. to maximize the amount of compensation that went to survivors and heirs of victims. the i checked process, here's the rub. it ended in 2007. since then, some european insurers have continued to play flames voluntarily. in the new york state insurance department, has helped process the flames of individuals who missed i checked deadline. the state department on president clinton, mr. chairman and bush and obama, argued in court that i checked was the exclusive process for resolving holocaust era insurance flames. several jewish and survivor groups, including the defamation
link, the american gathering of jewish holocaust survivors and the international, also supported by check and the ongoing new york state process is the best way to resolve those flames. the question before us today, is both of the i checked process and the ability to submit newly discovered flames to the new york state department of financial services works. some of the witnesses on our panel, argue the new legislation is necessary. so i very much thank you for calling this hearing. i think it's a very interesting issue in the be interesting to see what happens. so thank you. >> are glad i referred to you, that made perfect sense, thank you very much. senator scott, welcome to the committee and we look forward to hearing from you. scott: thank you for holding
this important hearing today. i like to welcome david, the president of the holocaust survivors in florida. dave was born in to slovakia in 28 and was told the american liberation of the camp. david and gratefully i am grateful you know able to join us today. we can make sure the holocaust survivors like yourself, receive the help you need and absolutely deserve. thank you also to the entire panel of witnesses appeared today and for all of those who are working to make sure we honor the memory of the millions of holocaust victims, that we do everything in our power to support the survivors and families. the holocaust is more than a history lesson. it is the stark reminder that evil and hate exist in this world. as governor of florida, i stand against discrimination from contracting companies boycotting israel. because supporting israel should
never be a partisan issue. as the us editor, i will continue to support israel and take action against those who wish to do them harm. our memory must never we can. generation must heed the call to action to face it will, this is holocaust lesson. thank you for being here. >> you've come to me several times about the importance of this hearing. i appreciate your passion. [background sounds]
[background sounds] >> great. so thank you welcome for coming. we have in our panel today, congressional research, congressional research service for taking, but when he say her name sir. mono seen, thank you president of the holy ghost. near state department of financial services. counsel to all the cast survivors. mr. stewart, former us advisor,
state department. we will start with mr. weibel. >> yes mr. chairman. ranking member and members of the committee, thank you for having me here today. i'm a specialist in financial services at the congressional research service. just for members of the audience, who might not be familiar to crs, we are division of the library of congress. our role is to provide objectivist, nonpartisan research and analysis to congress. we take no on the desirability of any policy for advocate for policy outcome i provided from written testimony with increased detail about the issue that we are talking about today. i also like to recognize my co-author, from crs who contributed greatly to the written testimony. my specialty is insurance. i'm going to start off talking a little pit about the pre-world war ii insurance markets and then getting to the efforts to
find composition after-the-fact. finish talking a little pit about policy evaluations that are significant issue today. pre- world war ii in central and interim interest at that time was not only a compensate in the if it of a loved one but had significant allocation asset accumulation properties. policies typically ran from 20 years, at the end of the policy of the person were still alive, would receive the value at the time. they could have surrendered value before hand so these were very significant assets. the jewish population and other populations in the area. very specific policy by the nazi government to attempt to appropriate these and other assets through the prewar and wartime. post-world war ii, there were efforts particularly in west germany at the time to provide compensation. restitution for people who had suffered for people who have these assets taken from them.
these efforts though for many people felt short. this is especially the case in the eastern part of europe did on soviet domination where companies at the nationalized, and in some cases private insurance in most cases didn't exist. following the communist takeover. so i generally recognize for that part of europe, there was little to no compensation. in the 1990s, these issues came before again, on both insurance and in areas like slave labor with bank accounts. there are a variety of national efforts to address this with i checked being the mail that was chosen. an insurance room. now i checked with individualized flames driven process. they attempted to identify claimants to seek out flames to adjudicate flames with the reduced standard.
and to get resources on top of those flames and provided primarily from various european companies. a contrasting approach, which has been significant source of the criticism that, but i checked could be seen as sort of a more macro top-down approach to consider how much insurance and assets might've been outstanding in his attorneys are europe at the time and judge both of or not the ij process has done a good job in writing and paying off some value on this. it's about $300 million in claims by check and another 1,609,000,000 and other compensation, this is of course valued from the early part of the 2000 his, if you just that to the present day, you get up a little pit higher with what rates you use. estimates for the president value, unpaid holocaust era
insurance claims specifically you wrote. they range from 2 billion to about $25 million in current day values. as an economist, i would say there are variety of economic tools that you can use to come up with these numbers. significantly as you drill down to how the numbers developed, you very quickly come very normative judgments about what the proper into use to use, accounts of been paid or unplayed claim in the live. so i can go into greater detail. in terms of how some of these numbers are developed. if your interested but i think what i would probably leave on is simply that there is significant judgment this big judgment on how you do this. the economic tools really only get you so far in determining what the right answer is. so that, i will finish my
a right to an american course and remember those are contacts, not charity. how would the state in justice department people and those justice -- judges feel with they would lose everything and then their own government said they could not even go to an american court. 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 won't be there. i'm here to ask you to change that. sadly you might hear from some jewish groups that are against congress passing the law but they are not, i repeat, they are not holocaust survivors and do not represent survivors and anyway.
i have more bad news. half of the other survivors live in poverty and cannot afford basic necessities of life even though germany gives more money every year it's still not nearly enough. it does not matter that our insurance rider was taken away. most survivors are suffering anyway. besides the german ambassador that day will never threaten funds for survivors. thousands of survivors suffered and died in missouri over these past 15 years and it was so unnecessary. 25 billion is what the companies owe. we believe all policies should be honored and full value and
the rest should be used to help survivors in need. without action by congress the insurance companies will be in the hands of the victims of the holocaust. this is unacceptable. i'm 90 years old about to turn 91. for the past 30 years i have visited hundreds of classrooms not only in florida, speaking to students and adults about my experience. i do this not because i enjoy telling the stories but they are mostly very sad. i do it because i believe that all people have an op edition to become educated about the holocaust, to remember and to make a personal commitment that they will do everything they can to never let such a drastic
event happen again. not to the jewish people and not to anyone else. i am ending with i would be more than willing to stay after this hearing and talk to anybody that would like to ask or talk about all these stories that i told you. thank you very much. >> thank you very very much. mr. dubbin. >> thank you mr. chairman. my name is samuel dubbin counsel to the holocaust survivors foundation usa on behalf of the survivor community we thank you for holding the hearing in the members for coming here. this morning i'm saddened to report that alex moskovitz one of the group's founding members passed away over the weekend. alex was a remarkable man a
survivor who rebuilt his life to earn 10 emmys as a producer of abc wide world of sports and in his retirement spent countless hours educating schoolchildren advocating for holocaust survivors. legislation is necessary to restore survivors rights to pursue claims in u.s. courts against global insurers who fail to honor policies for the holocaust victims. the supreme court in the second circuit in generality said survivors rights were preempted. based upon an executive branch quote policy that holocaust survivors along with all all-american should be limited in their ability to uncover unpaid policies. the basis was press releases and congressional testimony come no charity no act of congress and no executive order with any preemptive effect. senator garamendi said this is wrong under the supremacy clause. only congress was excluded from all this and can now restore survivors rights.
the opponents make three major arguments. first legal peace. they said the insurance were promising people if they participated. this is not true. number one i check has always understood to be voluntary unless the claimant accepted an offer of payment and the minute show that the number to the u.s. government never promised insurance companies immunity from litigation. the executive agreement with germany specifically negates that argument and states the united states does not suggest that his policy interest concerning the foundation in themselves provide an independent basis for dismissal of claims and number three the clinton administration senator feinstein i would like to make sure you hear what i'm going to say because the clinton administration negotiated that. when they went to the court they said expressly the agreement does not preclude individuals from filing suit on their insurance policies in court does not mandate individual beneficiaries bring their claim
and the clinton administration said that the united states has not undertaken the duty to achieve legal peace for german insurance companies against statement engagement and regulations. the second major argument opponents make is that the legislation would undermine negotiations with germany and others for assistance to survivors. no one has explained specifically while ally once should be able to obtain billions of dollars that go to jewish customers in contrast to rip these germany of all countries to provide a system for holocaust survivors. there's a logic there and the morality is completely inverted. in addition germany's ambassador wrote quote while we continue to pose 1726 and any similar host germany has never threaten to respond by cutting benefits for survivors and we have no intention to do so in the future
and whatever benefits the opponents claim to have created by destroying survivors insurance rights the big picture is awful. it is not disputed that half of holocaust survivors lived in or near poverty and never received any where close to the care they need for peace and dignity in their final years. after a decade of anchor mental homecare increases members of the senate committee on aging made the statement that evidence before them prove quote levels of home care funding by the conference of the 25% of the current needs of impoverished survivors for that was in 2014 after a decade of doubling from germany and to make matters worse emergency care services funding for that is not increase at all. one of the exhibits we gave you and it's in the text i sent around is a chart that measures what would be the need for an average survivor of 15 hours, 20 hours a week at $15 with germany provided the claims conference. the red represents the amount of
unprovided care for destitute survivors and it's in the billions every year for the past 15 years. the regime of even the insurance companies immunity in order to supposedly provide all these benefits resulted in tens of thousands of survivors suffering and dying without the care they need. finally let me just say as far as the new york claims and processing offices concerned this is a the exact same argument made in 2008 when the opponents defeated legislation sponsored by tom lantos the only survivor to ever serve in congress. in the four years after that the new york office settled six claims for $70,000 and have never published any other information since then. up it was flop anyways and i hope you asked questions about that because i see my time is running out that there are a lot of specifics you need to understand and in addition i would submit that we provided a
letter from harry rose a child of two german survivors who found the names on the icheic list of companies into the holocaust -- in new york and the results are something you need to see because it's not pretty. the bottom line is holocaust survivor should not be second-class citizens under u.s. law. the companies should not be immune from having to pay the money they owe and whether it's 2 billion or 25 billion which i believe is the correct number that money belongs to the victims, families and the rest goes to survivor sydney that would be a great thing for this conference to accomplish. i'm sorry, can i have one thing? there are some jewish groups who would oppose the legislation but i'm authorized to announce the anti-defamation league and the jewish federations of north america has said that they are no longer going to oppose this legislation and major groups including the simon wiesenthal
center 1939 society of los angeles come the u.s. show a foundation the zionist organization of america the stephen ake koson chairman of the usc show a foundation have all submitted letters to chairman bradford last year but they maintain support for what survivors are trying to maintain. >> good morning chairman graham, ranking member feinstein and members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. is that better? thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today and share my knowledge on the important issue of holocaust era insurance claims. as director of the holocaust claims processing office the unit of the newark state department financial services i'm pleased to be able to provide insight into our efforts to provide some measure of justice to the victims of a painful chapter in world history. for 22 years the state of new
york has been at the forefront of ensuring a just resolution of the unresolved claims and in june of 1997 established the cpl. claimants pay no fees for the services nor does the opposite take a percentage of the value of the coverage. our goal is to advocate for claimants for helping to the alleviating the cost they might encounter in trying to pursue claims on their own. since its inception the office has assisted over 2400 individuals from 43 states the district of columbia and 26 countries in making claims for insurance policies. to date the combined total offers extended cpl claimants amounts to more than $178 million, $34 million of which is for insurance policies. in response to the complex nature of restitution claims vhp seau includes a four step method.
it undertakes general historical research to cooperate to contextualize information specific regarding the insurance industry in prewar europe. the results of which have shown germany with the largest prewar insurance market in continental europe made the most comprehensive post-war compensation program. in contrast poland with the largest number of victims of persecution played a minor role in the industry. realistic expectations of what policy specific information can be found in archives and company records must take us back up into account. since 1998 hundreds or thousands of potential policyholder names for company records and company archives have been published on line. the office uses this information in conjunction with research and domestic and international public and private archives to obtain evidence. this is proven critical to resolving claims. second agency determines where to file a claim meaning what present-day company process is
responsible for the policy in question. claims issued by company still in existence finding the appropriate successor is relatively straightforward but for others determining the successor is more complex. indeed in many cases there is no present-day successor. third relying on relax standards of proof claims are submitted to all available venues. under these commonly accepted evidentiary standards which are not as stringent as those imposed by courts the claim cannot be rejected on the grounds of the claimant lacks complete documentary evidence. with the implementation of international agreements this cpl transfer thousands of claims overriding the processes. in march of 2007 at the closing of icheic its member companies as well as members of the german insurance association reiterated their commitment to continue to review and process claims under icheic standard of proof. in addition companies generally apply icheic valuation standards
although they are no longer obligated to do so. the fourth and final step in the process involves evaluating decisions to ensure that they appear to an agreed-upon processing guideline. no two claims are like. each require consciences individual attention and painstaking efforts at task really helped by increased archival and library cooperation and companies continued willingness to continue claims. the process of rest dishing can beat duke the lead distressing or vhp seau successfully brought closer to victims and their heirs could vhp seau approach to claims resolution shows it is possible to obtain compensation for assets lost during the holocaust era are open and mutual cooperation and at no cost to claimants. in closing for many to suggest as we strive to achieve our
common goal to settle claims for holocaust era assets as quickly as possible it behooves us all to manage claimants expectations not raised in an exaggerated sense of what might be accomplish the litigation could thank you for the opportunity to discuss the hcpo and i'd be happy to address any questions you may have. >> chairman graham ranking member feinstein and members of the committee thank you for holding the hearing in for your continued interest in the welfare of survivors and testifying in my personal capacity today and i asked that my full statement be made part of the record. justice for holocaust survivors and victims of the shoah and preserving the memory of lessons for the holocaust has been a central part of my life through for u.s. administrations and beyond in my voluntary negotiations have played a central role in the creation of
big u.s. holocaust memorial museum during the carter administration and the clinton administration a negotiated $8 billion of recoveries for swiss and french bank accounts and forced laborers by german company's restitution of looted art through the washington principles on looted art and negotiated with over 40 countries the return of communal and real poverty at the same end of the insurance policy most recently the deportation of jewish on the french railway. in my work since with the claims conference we have increased monthly tensions worldwide in 2009 there were 34 million euros in this coming year 500 mill in -- million. we have provided 20s for seven home care coverage which didn't exist before. we have covered a new program
for child survivors. we have dramatically increased pensions. none of this is enough but it is dramatic. my passion for holocaust justice and memory in my experience in negotiating in four administrations leads me to say to you respectfully that any legislation similar to what was considered last year which would provide a cause of action against european insurance companies and u.s. courts of holocaust policies would have potentially catastrophic negative effects. first, in unprecedented ways that would undermine legally binding international executive agreements going back almost 20 years with german and austrian governments and with their private companies. indeed with the german companies there were a thousand german companies have participated in the payment of 10 billion,
$5 billion. these have been in place from all 20 years. in return for these large payments from germany and some $800 million from austria that companies were given what we call legal peace. these agreements were reached with some of the toughest most renowned class-action lawyers all over the country who agreed to dismiss their suits in return for the payment of 10 billion dollars marks, five early in dollars in settlements and with holocaust survivor groups as well. we did not remove their right to sue. we could not. what we did say and what we have done is if suits were brought contrary to these agreements the u.s. government would initiate a statement of interest saying if it was, is and was in the
national security interest of the united states to resolve claims in the non-litigation process the u.s. supreme court and the garamendi case and judge michael mukasey later attorney general under president bush and the general ali case both indicated that these were appropriate uses of presidential authority and indeed the case dealt precisely with the insurance issue. imagine the chaos of allowing new suits under the circumstances. second, it would complicate future holocaust negotiation since the word of the u.s. government could not be trusted and believe me there are still many things that need to be done in the holocaust period. many property issues as well. imagine how the credibility of the united states would be affected when under the just act
do you probably pass which requires the state department in november to give a report card on how all the countries of the declaration and negotiate with 46 countries. we are judging them on whether they have met their obligations and here we would be withdrawing from international obligations that we have reached. third, any legislation would be contrary to long-standing bipartisan policy to reserve -- resolve holocaust related claims by negotiated claims processes without the cost of courts and lawyers and with dramatically lower burdens of proof that any federal court would require. it would leave beneficiaries of holocaust era insurance agencies to pursuing lengthy, costly almost certain fruitless
litigation with claimants facing high standards of proof in federal court and other legal defenses instead of using the low levels of proof under the icheic process. fourth, it would undermine the work of the state insurance commissioners who in 1998 voluntarily took the lead in creating icheic along with european insurers, jewish organizations, the state of israel all of them were members and the leadership of icheic and many of you know and i'm sure senator graham you must have worked with very -- larry eagleburger. larry tirelessly works with icheic for 10 years. he was strongly supported by secretary of state allen albright secretary of state colin powell there after and deputy secretary of state richard armitage of the bush administration. i can assure you larry
eagleburger is as tough as anyone possible. he would not have ever permitted european insurers to pull the wool over his eyes. by the time icheic closes doors in 2007 it's insurance companies at paid $306 million to 48,000 victims using the lax standards lower than any u.s. court would demand. please understand half of the claims did not even have the name of the insurance company because the documents didn't exist. they were able to match over 16,000 that had no names of insurance companies to a very tedious process and when they couldn't find any evidence they ended up making humanitarian payments as well. there is no court anywhere that would accept this lower burden of proof. their work was overseen not just by larry eagleburger but by all
the member organizations of icheic and esteemed individuals like the former bank governor of the state of israel a holocaust survivor who specifically involved himself in the valuation of insurance policies. although holocaust survivors the american jewish organization the american insurance commissioners closely reviewed the european insurance procedures and individual handling of claims and offer their own purported evaluation. >> mr. ambassador you to wrap up. the claims deadline was extended six times. fifth and last congress has held eight hearings and this is the ninth in each time it has decided not to go forward with legislation for many of the reasons i've mentioned. legislation would also fly in the face of opposition for virtually every major american
jewish organization in major holocaust survivor organizations the american gathering of jewish survivors the world jewish federation of child survivors of holocaust restitution committee and many more. i do have suggestions of what this committee could do constructively, require european insurers doing business here to submit parodic reports to the u.s. government on a claims processing post-icheic to make sure they are abiding by their promise to continue to resolve claims with these low standards of insurance. in addition they could look at if any claims are denied those were done and they could memorialize the 5 hundred 19,000 potential holocaust survivors so if any future claims could be brought under these lower standards they could use the group and they could recover under procedures that no court would ever allow to be
done. thank you very much. >> thank you. mr. webel, set right? if you look at the pot of money here for lack of a better way of saying it all the people that paid in to the insurance system before the destroyed the system is somewhere between 2,000,000,025,000,000,000. is that what you're saying? >> first of all for one thing a lot of this money was from a company perspective paid out before the war because part of the expropriation of the nazis did. >> how much was taken? >> that which you have his estimates for the unpaid value of the assets, some comic think you can legitimately say between two and $25 billion. see mckinney say the claims process that the ambassador just talked about when you combine
new york and the center national system has recovered less than 500 billion? is that right? >> i would boost that to 2 billion is probably a present-day number and that number is from 10 plus years ago so if you adjust for the intervening time period you probably get to around 700 to 800 million. stu: taking the most generous number of 2 billion, not 25 and bringing it to present day the current system has basically recaptured less than half the mr. dubbin is that correct? that's the most generous interpretation. >> mr. ambassador it's not working from my point of view. if you believe there's up to $25 billion of uncompensated claims that in the current
system has generated 700 million then somebody needs to look at something else. >> i would add mr. chairman when ms. rubin and mr. eizenstat we respectfully disagree. those that have survived auschwitz like leaders of the earth station who represents thousands of the survivors around the country they should not be treated like children and they shouldn't be lectured to. >> mr. eizenstat how do you respond to my observation that whatever process we have in place the claims route that the money recovered as woefully inadequate given the pot of money available? >> i disagree respectfully. >> what is the member? >> no one knows precisely but let me give you this figure, okay? >> wait a minute you disagree
with what mr. webel said. >> that's a total sum. we don't know the number of jewish people who had insurance. no one knows. they know the total european insurance market and senator please, germany had the largest percentage of insured insurance, 52% of the whole european market. poland had 3.5 million jews in and almost no insurance. germany is paid on its own $80 billion since the end of the war. a significant part of that was for insurance policies not counted in these insurance policies bank assets and the like. in the 50s and 60s the dutch, french and the germans have their own insurance
payments so when you accumulate all of those plus the icheic process plus what has happened post icheic you have a very substantial number but the fact is no one can give you including sierra some they say that an accurate figure of what number of sick tims had insurance and how large those policies were. if we subject those claimants to the court procedure and officiate 20 years of agreement. >> but there's a disconnect between the numbers he is giving me and i don't know what percentage of germany was jewish that paid into an insurance system. i don't know if there was no insurance in poland to go through every other nation that the nazi occupation people were denied not only their art in their houses and everything else in that we are talking about insurance but i find it hard to
believe that at $700 million. >> the $25 billion estimate of the jewish policies, it's not all germany and he worked for icheic. was the economist who went to the records of european insurance. spin it how did the right of that member? >> the jewish population based on actual data had a propensity of jewish people to purchase insurance that may apply that propensity. that was unanimously accepted by members of the icheic and all the people mr. eizenstat are saying -- >> wait a minute the icheic group evaluated the pot of money to be 25 billion. soon they evaluated the pot of money based upon 800,000 policies worth about 600 million at the end of the war unpaid and they never actually put a value on that. what they did was say let's use
of 30-year u.s. bond yield is a multiplier very conservative enough something in the insurance company would ever accept. based upon that in 2007 when icheic finished that 600 billion would have been worth $17 billion produced. today in 2019 that's 25 million. >> i just have to say we shouldn't be loose with the facts. i never accepted at 25 billion-dollar valuation. they did their own report. the commission their own report. mr. pomeroy who was in north dakota insurance commissioner and they got nowhere near that figure. >> we will figure that out. senator feinstein. >> mr. dubbin it's my understanding that even those icheic the processes close beneficiaries can still pursue claims that the new york state
department of financial services do you know of those that have done this? >> yes, you do and i can give you one example. harry rose from miami is a child of two german survivors. he went on to the icheic web site in 2011 and saw the name of his mother and his grandparents as having had german policies. in 2011 he went to the new york claims processing office. the way those names appear on the icheic web site from germany was the german -- germany got special permission to do their own thing with icheic instead of having the companies publish their own names they allow the german association to publish them on the web sites of the german insurance association as one who who knows how those names got on the web site. the first thing they did was they commissioned research into the family's wealth and then i went to the german insurance association and claimed they had no idea where the names came from.
they were the ones who put their names and a first place of the problem -- the processing is the same problem with icheic produce no authority nosa pay up our no compulsion for companies to do what they wanted mr. rose whose mother confirmed both she was a life had insurance yet there was no way to force the companies to come forward and come clean. see that the remedy to this is what? >> legislation validating the state laws requiring the companies to publish the names which the garamendi case is struck. >> it so there is no requirement and the names have to be published. >> so-called voluntary and the names published by icheic less than 10% were published. he is the guy that did the research and of the industry so even though they were names that were published in the of the people founder families names on that list were denied claims by
icheic and at the long list of cases and jack and cheddar including one of your constituents larry levy. his great grandparents were from italy. they had a policy although many escaped they owned a business and they stay. they were betrayed and went to auschwitz. she had a generally policy that was in force and get that policy never appeared on the icheic web site, never. they had a researcher in the family that demanded information family they admitted that yes there was a policy in the name of the great-grandmother. that wasn't even published so all of these so-called wonderful elements of icheic only result in the payment of 3% of the money because it was conceptually -- >> what he is suggesting? >> legislation that would validate the laws requiring the publication of names, new federal cause of action allowing survivors to go to claim in
court similar to their rainy and tourism model where when congress come when the get ron congress can come in and fix fit and it in a 10 year period of time in order for the victims getting access to the information to bring those claims and leave me talk about long periods of time when this bill passes and the companies know they are going to have to pay for damages 6% compounded interest they are going to cooperate and they to cooperate in the are going to settlements going to be completely different world. that did world of immunity is one where the survivors just keep getting pushed around. >> i want to ask you to put the request of specifically what you're asking for in writing and send it to this committee so that we might look at it. >> we thank you for the bill you cosponsored in and 2011 with senator nelson senator rubio with a couple of minor changes. that draft legislation is what we are pursuing.
>> thank you. >> mr. graham do want to respond >> since the conclusion of icheic the german companies have paid 130 claims. jenna raleigh has paid $12 million. if the committee wishes it certainly can require the publication of all the lists. you can have hearings about why individual cases were not resolved under the lax standards but for goodness sakes don't rip up to international agreements. >> about for us to say. >> of course, you have the right to deliver. but the supreme court -- >> i'm very familiar with the facts. >> thank you mr. chairman. what steps were taken to ensure
that the icheic positions were fair and unbiased? can you talk about that process and how they arrived? >> i can talk about the valuation process and the steps that went into this specific economic numbers. in terms of actual claims processing -- processing it have to defer to somebody the members to make if you talk a little bit about the process that you observe. >> it basically in terms of the overall economics a commission specific report led by insurance commissioner from north dakota pomeroy and the french insurance executive but basically walks through and made estimates for essentially all you would need to do to estimate essentially how much of the asset value of this insurance might be outstanding and that includes the percentage of the jewish population the amount of insurance outstanding the
propensity for the jewish population to purchase current values and so forth. they did not publish an official icheic number for this. we talk about two and 2.5 range the icheic numbers in the range that they put out in current day numbers was somewhere between 1.5 versus four to 4.5. in order to get to 25 basically what you are significantly doing is to some degree re-adjudicating the german compensation post-war so you are revaluing policies that were compensated in the german scheme post-war and saying essentially those policies were not enough. >> so we have the north dakota insurance commissioner pomeroy and the french that were involved in this process. where other stakeholders involved in scrutinizing this? >> this was basically airport done by the icheic commission.
>> okay thank you. do you believe that icheic paid a fair amount to survivors and their policies? >> he i have no ability to make that judgment. >> what improvements could be made to the current new york ross s.? >> i'm not familiar enough with the new york process so i'd defer that. >> mr. dubbin is going back to what you are recommending to congress. >> my recommendation is the company should come clean and it should be a compulsory process because the voluntary process of icheic was a disaster and i can give you a lot of other examples. for example they claimed they had audits. well all the audits did was determine whether not the companies did what they said they were going to do and every single one was qualified with the following statement or opinion does not in any way
connected the conduct of the ensuring respect in the insurance policy or claimed thereon at any time under any circumstance. mr. eizenstat talked about birds of proof. generali was allowed to deny claims if they said that those policies were not in their system in 1936. they said they mechanize their system in 1936 and acknowledge the policies have been sold. in this court in the state of florida in those states where the policy is established the burden is on the insurer to prove what happened to it. they flipped the bird and literally put the burden on the survivors to disprove an argument that the insurance companies were made that icheic love than to make an albert lewis who is the former superintendent of insurance for the state of new york was one of the appellate arbitrators and he resigned because he was told to deny claims when people could not produce documentation.
that is the antithesis of liberal standards of proof. therefore a recommendation is a law that forces companies to be accountable in the u.s. legal system and believe me as i pointed to before it's not violating any agreements. it's just giving survivors the rest assure that all along. >> i understand survivors and their families will go through the new york process but the state of new york. then would it be reasonable for other states to also to go through other states under your recommendation? >> respectfully what they did in new york was effective because they don't have any compulsion ability to give the best of intentions they have to accept whatever the companies they invest a good example of what happened with mr. rose. i was fascinated to see rosekind to happen when he made his claim and you have the documents here. it was delays, delays delays and excuses in the end the ged put
the put the names on the list in the first place that we do know where the names came from soy but later mr. rosen's mother was alive at the time and they were unable to validate her to get compensated for that. there are policies with their mothers and grandmothers names on it and if the law passed they publish that information we can get to the bottom of it. >> so less emphasis on whose processing and more on changing the process. >> of establishing legal requirements and accountability. will there be actual accountability? no one is supervising her because there was a statement by the insurance commissioner new york that this process of winning for claims and asking for your product to be paid was not working. >> thank you for your input. thank you mr. chair.
>> mr. dubbin the supreme court in the 2003 ruling up at the senate besides no clear declaration of. exemptions existed. some argue that congress should be concerned about the supreme court's interpretation of preemption in that case. do you agree? >> i agree. the preemption decision was unprecedented. >> anybody else on the panel but not necessarily all of you unless you want to add to it, does anyone else have something to add to the issue of preemption and whether the supreme court got it right or wrong? >> images said one thing because it was requested that justice department for documents relating to the insurance issue and they provided documents and
some of them were many random which were included in packets about how they should respond to the second circuit in response to the generali case and these justices are very intelligence and also very wry and what he rightly observed at the time was even in cases in which united states filed a statement of interest pursuant to a agreement there was considerable tension between the position that foreign policy requires dismissal of an adjunct in the agreement itself does not provide an intended basis for dismissal and they appointed generali away. >> have you asked others on the panel? >> go ahead. >> first of all is not only the supreme court by majority that said this was a proper use of executive authority.
it was also in a separate case that judge me casey attorney general under president bush and the generali who said the same thing. going back to 70 -- 1799 u.s. has always had executive agreements to resolve claims. these have always been upheld as appropriate use of presidential authority. i have testified many times before congress, like 12 times on these very agreements. they were supported by a large majorities altavado and many others on both sides of the aisle in the house and senate. we were applauded for negotiating these agreements. when going to court would have been so indefensibly difficult so the supreme court was right, judge mukasey was writing going back to the beginning of this republic the president has had
the authority to negotiate these kinds of agreements. that is not really true and let me tell you why. >> i will listen to uncle and my next question. >> in those days there were sovereign immunity so people couldn't some foreign governments of the u.s. government then basically collected those claims and made executive agreements of people could get some compensation. in the days of the iranian hostage situation there was some congressional authority to do that only the emergency of getting the hostages out of iran justified the assignment of claims by the u.s. government in that case. but the garamendi court said that what is missing here in congress and congress has every right to come in and change this if it disagrees with the outcome of that decision. that's the final line of the case. >> anyone who wants to comment on this point? data from the commission
indicates total distribution of 300 million, 31,000 claimants out of 48,000 receive payments were offered a one-time humanitarian payment of $1000. should congress be satisfied or concerned with the measures of justice and why? >> i can tell you from what mr. mermelstein said a receipt from icheic but said this is a humanitarian payment because we think you have some kind of a story this was an insult to holocaust survivors. they say there was calling them liars and for the alani the end -- defenders to include those checks in the gross amount of quote compensation that icheic provided is a misdirection. i mean it's really a ruse because it paid 14,000 claims in a paid 34,000, $1000 humanitarian payment. those were not supplements on
insurance policies. >> it's just not true but the claimants who receive these payments did not complain. there has not been any mass complaint that they were underpaid. they were pleased to be paid and in more than half the cases mr. chairman they didn't even know the names of the insurance companies and icheic through very exhaustive research was able to match up over 16,000 names. it's only a 1000-dollar payments came when there was no ability, no documentation. >> is the correct that the anti-defamation league has withdrawn their objected to this legislation? >> joel greenberg is here mr. chairman he's been in contact with the president that he authorized me to say that yes not objecting to the legislation see if that is news to us because they have signed onto the letter last year. >> senator hawley. so the thank you mr. chairman. can you walk me through what are
the standards of proof that the commission of insurance companies generally require in order to prove a claim the way you think about the appropriateness of the standards? >> you mean in the icheic process? >> right. >> according to the little bit of data that exists mostly what we have is people who were denied. we have lots of people. the survival of the kristallnacht and the ss st. louis. his father told him before he died that he had insurance with allianz. he asked for that policy after the board was told it had been paid out. applied to icheic. his dad was on the list and 10 of his aunts and uncles were on the list. icheic told them they are to paid him the policy and they could not give them information that is aunts and uncles unless he could give them the names and birth dates of his aunts and knuckles. he was 12 years old with the ss
st. louis. that's what's. that's what's the point demand and they didn't send that many documents. after icheic close the german embassy provided him with some information including the so-called prepayment repurchase document that was dated november 9, 1938. that was kristallnacht and that was when his father was taken to buchenwald. that's the kind of treatment that survivors got with icheic. >> did you want to say something? >> thank you sir. as wanted to make a clarification. while the name of my office has process and that we do not adjudicate claims. when we say process we act as a facilitator in that advocate for claimants. woodall salute settle the claim ourselves or make a decision on any particular case. we act as a voice for claimants. we do research for them. try to obtain as much documents as possible for substantiating their claims. we help them with genealogy research to help them explain their family connection to an
insured for example. so i just wanted to clarify that aspect of our office. if i may interject something about there were lax standards of proof companies don't require that you provide policy information. they will take a letter from 1934 that says i remember when you bought this policy and they will investigate within their own records for any evidence of a policy and they will make payments on policies when they don't have specific details of the policy and just say a record that a policy was purchased. when they don't have the date of purchase or the value of the purchase or the policy they can still make the claim but i'd be happy to submit additional information about what were lax standards and tales. >> if a private right of action were to be created would be better to leave this to state law to determine or should there be a single national standard in
your view? >> there should be a single annual rite of action in the decision would be the state law or a general federal common law which is like what they are using in the iranian terror litigation. that is the option of the plaintiff. >> are comfortable low, you say state law the rules of the decision will vary. spare the planet would have the option. >> because of the garamendi case there has to be a federal statute to reopen the right of access to courts. finally mr. mermelstein thank you for being here and thank you for advocacy. i was just wondering if there's one more thing this congress and committee need to understand about the challenges of holocaust survivors and their descendents vindicating their insurance claims and receiving
their due compensation. >> how i feel about taking away the rights? >> anything you would like to add that we should understand. >> not only me but all the people that i represent. it hurts us then it still hurts us today. my friend was a soldier in korea if he came home and he couldn't go to an american court. i passed it but they didn't take me. they took away our rights to use in american courts. and let me just say one thing. the gentleman mentioned that
germany gave a big increase so i want to tell the senate that had something to do with that because i came chairman ros-lehtinen and told her she need to do one more thing pass a resolution in congress that germany is not doing what they promised that they would do and she said how about the two senators, do want to talk to to them? >> guest: must senator nelson and senator rubio. so i talk to them and the senator will tell you it was unanimous in both houses and. up the biggest increase from germany then then we have gotten in all these years. >> thank you all. we just been informed any defamation league's dole opposes the legislation so the information provided is not
correct. we just got an e-mail. we will follow up on it. >> again that's different than what they told mr. greenberg and with the president told mr. mr. green work. >> i will end on this for tell me about the process of four companies are not required to disclose. what was your biggest problem there? go over that again. >> they only publish the names they wanted to so as a result in the information was published. >> it was a voluntary list of names to what we suggest we do to change that? >> a state law that requires the companies to publish the names of the policyholders in other words reversed the garamendi decision. to me he said the burden has been shifted to explain that to me again. >> for example with generali claims, generali argued its database in 1936 was complete
and any policy that was not the database would be paid or lapsed or something like that. icheic accepted that as the basis for family claims so mr. gertz over maryland his family's name was on the list in 1936 but there is definitely a policy put that interstate love there's proof of a policy the burden is on the insurer for proof of laps of payment. santa give me an example of a case where they were saying the family had been paid. he was on the night of kristallnacht? >> correct. he is a survivor of kristallnacht and he was on the ss st. louis when they were sent back here. his parents and sisters were sent to auschwitz and murder. he knew he had an allianz policy and allianz asked that. there was a token payment from germany but it had nothing to do with the fact --
>> submitted by only once. spent that was 15 or 20 years later and icheic said your dad was paid but they didn't provide them with any documents. what could he do? he about documents and even though there was a sub 20 appellate process he had no basis to appeal because he had to take that it face value. we later got document to the german embassy because the survivors and the nation made a little bit of trouble for peoples of the german embassy got the documents and the records, and then here there's a so-called repayment document that says on november 9, 1938 his dad cashed in the policy. he was taken to buchenwald that day. ..
book tv, at 11:00 p.m. eastern and their new book the education of red. new york times reporter export justice cavanaugh his recent confirmation process. >> at the time of the cavanaugh confirmation hearing, had been underway for a while, i think there was a backlash brewing. it was going is it too far. this notion of all women was oversimplified it and overlooking the investigation part that i was talking about earlier. and then you do have a president who does advocate taking tough stances. and also has talked about allegations of sexual misconduct that sometimes you just need to deny deny deny. i think it was important for us
to put ourselves in cavanaugh his shoes and really imagine someone being falsely accused together and explore that. >> then on sunday, live coverage of the 2019 brooklyn book festival. featuring discussion on the trump administration with prize-winning author and historian, annette gordon creed. and historian rhoda pineapple. race on the 2020 election. with author and journalist matt. and look at historical resistance. with author and activist, terrain. then at eight eastern, in his latest book, power grab. former utah republican, argues that liberals are trying to undermine the trump presidency. >> theirs is reoccurrence theme coming here. they really do believe in the radical far left side. they throw all of these labels like fascist and all of these really negative terms on donald trump. when i see them doing is exactly
what they claim the president was doing. that in order to protect our freedom, they need to take it away. in order to make sure the first amendment is in place, the need to take away the rights on the first amendment. it's just a recurring theme. >> nine, thoughts on us immigration policy. in her book, open borders incorporated. she's interviewed by texan republican congressman, roy. >> deep pockets, nonprofit organizations that are crusading for illegally alien rights. wonder how it is how they have is the representation in court to sue over every last trump initiative to enforce the law. so big business, the us chamber of commerce are huge reason for that.
>> watch book tv. every weekend, on c-span. president trump and first lady millenia trump, will host a second state dinner of his administration. as when he opens australian prime ministers scott morrison and his wife jenny morrison. watch s arrivals and dinner toast. i live coverage begins friday at 6:30 p.m. eastern. on c-span. online at cspan2 .org or listen on the free c-span radio app area. >> cspan2 is back in des moines iowa for the 2020 coverage of the polk county steak fry beginning at 2:00 p.m. eastern. eighteen because it presents all candidates takes the stage for speeches. live in cspan2.
the committee heard from leadership confronts on civil and human rights president, anita, naacp derek johnson, and public interest foundation president jay christian adams. >> committee on the constituti constitution, civil rights and civil liberties is called to order. that went out objection, welcome everyone to the next hearing. you'll hear in evidence, on evidence of current