Holocaust survivor Jack Rubin is still waiting for Allianz to make a fair deal.
Rubin, 85, of Boynton Beach, is an executive board member of the Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA, which has organized a protest of the Allianz Golf Tournament in Boca Raton every year for the past four years. The protest is to convince Allianz to pay back all of the proceeds of unpaid Holocaust-era insurance claims to Jewish Holocaust survivors and descendants of Jewish Holocaust victims.
Rubin led about a dozen protesters outside the Broken Sound Golf Course on Monday, Feb. 3, on the first day of the tournament, an official PGA Champions (50 and older) Golf Tour event held every year at Broken Sound. On Sunday, Feb. 9, on the event's final day, there were close to 40 protesters.
Rubin said: "We Holocaust survivors are getting old. We're tired of coming out here every year. We want Allianz to sit down with us and finally make us a fair deal for what we are owed."
Added Holocaust survivor Moric Jusovic, 85, of Delray Beach: "A lot of the survivors are dying off or getting too weak to come out. It seems like it is Allianz's goal to just wait until we die off. What they are doing is so unfair. They say they are paying all legitimate claims, but they have the audacity to ask for documents which are impossible to produce."
Allianz, a German insurance company, does not deny it owes insurance claims to Jewish Holocaust survivors, and descendants of Jews who were killed in the Holocaust, for insurance policies purchased by European Jews during World War II. The only question is: Has the company paid its fair share of what it owes?
As part of a statement released by Allianz spokeswoman Sabia Schwarzer, she said: "Allianz's history and involvement in Nazi Germany has, with the company's full support, been very well documented, particularly in Gerald D. Feldman's groundbreaking book, 'Allianz and the German Insurance Business 1933-1945.' This book, published back in 2001, also details the work of the company in settling claims in the post-war period. While we cannot undo any aspect of our company's history, we can learn from it and work to make sure the horrors of the Holocaust are never again repeated."
Schwarzer also said that Allianz continues to pay its fair share of what it owes. However, the protesters all disagreed, and an independent source said that Allianz had paid at most three percent of what it owes on Jewish Holocaust-related claims.
Sidney Zabludoff, an economist who worked for the White House, CIA and Treasury Department for more than thirty years, said by phone: "Upon retirement in 1995, I was part of the International Commission on Holocaust-era Insurance Claims, which focused on issues related to the restitution of Jewish assets stolen during the Holocaust era. I was the principal analyst for the Jewish claims. I figured out the worth of all the portfolios held by the European insurance companies. In today's value, Allianz's share of the Jewish claims would be about $2.5 billion, yet they've paid out only about $50 million."
The rest of Schwarzer's statement reads: "Allianz has been active in settling the insurance claims of Holocaust victims and their families ever since the end of the Second World War, both in cooperation with the Allied and German governments and, more recently — together with the U.S. and Israeli governments, the Jewish Claims Conference and others — through the International Commission on Holocaust-era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC). To this day, Allianz continues to pay any verifiably unsettled claims, whether submitted directly or through the New York State Holocaust Claims Processing Office, which has taken the lead in investigating and processing claims and advocating for claimants since ICHEIC completed its work in 2007.
Protester David Dubbin, of Boca Raton, said Schwarzer's statement is disingenuous.
"I ask you how many death certificates were issued by the Nazis and how many Jews were allowed to bring their insurance papers to the concentration camps," David Dubbin said. "The answer, of course, is none. When Allianz says verifiable claims, they are holding out for original papers, which is how they are getting away with not paying the full number of claims they should. They should publish a list of all their European policy holders during the war and let any descendants collect who can show proof of identity."
Samuel Dubbin, of Miami, David's brother and the counsel to the Holocaust Survivors Foundation USA, added: "In 2011, the protests received a lot of press coverage and the protests put pressure on Allianz. Wolfgang Ischinger [Allianz's global head of government relations] agreed to come here to South Florida and talk to the Holocaust survivor leadership on his next trip to the United States. A few months later, he reneged. We encourage Ischinger to finally address our Holocaust survivors and show Allianz's commitment to honoring its insurance contracts."
The survivors pointed to a 2011 letter the Foundation faxed to Ischinger to request what Allianz could do to settle the situation more fairly:
"Allianz still needs to come clean with complete disclosure of policy holder information; to make payment of claims at fair value (not the 10% value approved by ICHEIC); to support full legal rights for Holocaust survivors and their heirs; and to contribute immediately significant resources to assist Holocaust survivors in need, not through the Claims Conference, but via agencies known and respected by grass-roots survivor leaders."
Samuel Dubbin said the survivors were not satisfied with Ischinger's 2011 response letter, as it did not directly respond to any of the Foundation's concerns. However, the survivors did expect he would honor a commitment to meet with them in person, which was never fulfilled, so they will continue to protest Allianz until Ischinger meets with the survivors and reaches an acceptable agreement.
The Jewish Journal will follow up with both sides to see if Ischinger agrees to meet with the survivors.