A class action complaint filed in Illinois alleges that five foreign banks are liable for the Holocaust-era looting of financial accounts belonging to Hungarian Jews. The heirs of some of the Hungarian Jews filed this complaint in the case known as Holocaust Victims of Bank Theft v. Magyar Nemzeti Bank, et. al., Index No. 10-CV-01884.
On May 18th, the trial court issued its sixteen page decision refusing to dismiss the heirs’ complaint which seeks $2 billion in money damages. This decision is already the subject of appeals and the trial court has scheduled a November 1, 2011 status hearing in the case.
Perhaps most important is that the complaint raises these compelling questions about the Holocaust-era in Hungary:
- Whether Defendants banks expropriated Jewish property in compliance with Hungarian government decrees;
- Whether Defendant banks participated in a scheme to expropriate the assets of the Jews of Hungary in violation of international law;
- Whether Defendant banks participated in or aided and abetted a scheme to depopulate and/or expel Hungary’s Jews in violation of international law;
- Whether Defendant banks participated in genocide in violation of international law;
- Whether Defendant banks aided and abetted genocide in violation of international law;
- Whether Defendant banks committed acts of looting in violation of international law;
- Whether Defendant banks continue to perpetuate genocide by their continued retention of the funds and assets by denying the Jewish community of Hungary the means to adequately and more fully reconstitute itself;
- Whether Defendant banks affirmatively misrepresented to the Plaintiffs, other Class members and the general public their actions during the WWII period and their continued retention of the assets of Plaintiffs and other Class members;
- Whether Defendant banks failed to provide an accounting and restitution to the Plaintiff and other Class members since World War II; and
- Whether Plaintiff and Class have been damaged by Defendant banks’ conduct. (Complaint at pp. 39-40).
(Edited September 17, 2011)
Copyright 2011 Fred L. Abrams