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Shoah Class Action Suit: Children of Holocaust Survivors to Sue Germany - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

A class action suit is to be filed in Israel against the German government on behalf of the children of Holocaust survivors who are in urgent need of psychological treatment.

 Over 1 million Jews were killed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp during the Holocaust. Now children of Holocaust survivors are filing a class action suit against the German government. A class action suit is to be filed in Israel against the German government on behalf of the children of Holocaust survivors.

The lawsuit, which will be filed in Tel Aviv on Sunday, will demand that the German government pay for the psychological treatment of children of Holocaust survivors living in Israel (more...).

The suit is being filed by the Fisher Fund, an Israeli charity that helps Holocaust survivors, and will represent tens of thousands of Holocaust victims' children. The fund expects the number registered for the class action suit to soon reach 30,000 people, due to enormous media interest in Israel.

by Fran on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 01:33:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An obviously worthy and legitimate underlying cause. Add in the power of US lawyers and procedures, today's TV programming and current political context of accusing Europe of anti-semitism and you get an explosive mix, and a strange after taste.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 05:26:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are we talking about people who were not even born when WWII ended?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 05:35:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
from the sound of it. As I wrote above, I'm pretty sure that there's a decent case to be made that a number of them have had to live with a heavy burden passed on by their parents, and that pyschological help (among other things) was needed and helpful. So I am not unsympathetic to the underlying story.

But I cannot help wince when such help is called "urgent", 60 years after their parents came back from the camps, and when the whole thing sounds like a manufactured PR/legal circus

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 06:03:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I want to see children of people suffering from PTSD start suing governments all over the world.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 06:12:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know a few children of Holocaust survivors, and they themselves admit that they are not the most psychologically healthy people.  They question the effect of WWII on their parents - were their parents healthy psychologically prior to the War and  was it their parents' psychological quirkiness as they call it, the reason they survived?  Or was it the effect of the events they witnessed?

I think a case would have to be made about this for each and every individual family, so no class action suit could really be possible, I would think.

Also, I think what happened with the recent settlements of Jewish claimants against the Swiss banks was really disgusting - the attorney fees of the Jewish NYC lawyers were simply disgracefully high.  

by zoe on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 06:47:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, Barbara was for a time involved in translating Holocaust Era Insurance Claims and I'm sure the legal fees for the whole thing were astronomical.

It is more cost-effective for everyone involved, however, to launch a class-action suit that sets up an agency in charge of reviewing the individual claims and awarding a settlement.

As for the effect of war on people, yes, my grandfather suffered from what we would today call PTSD from the Spanish Civil War and Franco's repression. Is my father entitled to sue the Spanish Government, and possibly also Germany and Italy, and Britain, and France and Russia?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 06:57:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose it depends on the circumstances.  If his family  was singled out because of his religious and ethnic roots, I would say yes.  
by zoe on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 07:01:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, my point is that the victims of wars should launch (and win) class action suits on the aggressors everywhere.

What makes religion and ethnicity the only legitimate reasons to claim victimisation? A war is a war is a war.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 07:04:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was thinking of the children of German Jews.  

Yes, you have a point, and perhaps this is the way to stop war.    Kind of like war reparations but for individuals. Because if no one can profit, I doubt there would be any wars.

By the wa, if any Iraqi wants to sue George Bush, by the way, I'll contribute to paying the legal fees.

by zoe on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 07:15:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The people who profit won't pay. And besides - after this long, they'll be dead. Is it legal or moral to sue their descendants?

The problem I have with this is that Germany in 2007 is not the same legal or ethical entity as Nazi Germany in 1937.

I have no problem with individuals being sued, and with corporations being sued. It's my fervent hope that if Bush and Cheney ever leave office, they'll be taken to the woodshed legally - as should Halliburton, Bechtel and the rest.

But I think the ice is much thinner when you try to pin the blame on countries. There is a difference between a regime and a country, and if you challenge countries and not regimes, the danger is that you create a precedent for grudge politics, with a potentially indefinite time-frame. Once you do that all kinds of nasty things become possible - legally and otherwise.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 07:58:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
tell that to the Kaczyinski twins in Poland!
by zoe on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 08:01:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, all a country needs to do is get a new constitution and they're off the hook?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 08:11:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Could someone clear something up for me please?

Were the charges against the Nuremberg defendants included in the League of Nations' Charter or in the Geneva Conventions or were the charges of starting an aggressive war, for example, or crimes against humanity and genocide,  laws made up by the victors after the fact?

Since Germany was not invited to join the League of Nations, I've always had problems with the legal concept behind the issue - I don't mean the humanist values behind the charges, of course.

I am wondering how these same charges could be applied to certain warmongers living today.  If the UN Charter and the League of Nations' Charter differ in these points, perhaps not.

by zoe on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 08:26:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
According to Wikipedia, the relevant treaties are
For war crimes
  • Hague Conventions (1899 and 1907)
  • Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928)
  • Geneva Conventions (1929 and 1949)
  • London Charter (1945) for the Nuremberg Trials
Crimes against peace and crimes against humanity were first defined by the London Charter. The League of Nations Charter dates from 1919, the UN Charter from 1945 and Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948. I don't think the Charters say anything about war crimes, that's what the other treaties are for.

The Nuremberg tribunal was ad hoc, just like the tribunals for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia, and I believe the reason for the International Criminal Court was to create a standing court with universal jurisdiction to try all these crimes.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 08:40:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
gracias
by zoe on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 08:46:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, all a country needs to do is get a new constitution and they're off the hook?

If it's mostly rubble and all of the old leaders are dead, yes.

If it's obviously just pretending and nothing much has changed, then no.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 09:47:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An arab cameraman of Al-Aqsa Hamas TV channel covering Israel army incursion in the Gaza strip was first hit by shell parts and was lying without moving on the ground with his camera near him. Then while he was lying motionless, israeli soldiers shot him in both legs. Both legs were later amputated in a Gaza hospital.

War is war indeed.

http://gklein.blog.lemonde.fr/2007/07/06/gaza-une-camera-et-deux-jambes-en-moins/


Un cameraman de la télévision Al-Aqsa du Hamas, Imad Ghanem, 23 ans, grièvement blessé jeudi 5 juillet par des tirs de l'armée israélienne. Selon l'AFP :

    Le cameraman, qui ne portait aucun signe distinctif de presse, a été d'abord touché par des éclats d'obus. Puis il a été atteint aux jambes par des balles tirées par des soldats israéliens alors qu'il gisait à terre, sans arme, la caméra à ses côtés.

    La télévision satellitaire qatarie Al-Jazira a transmis les images de l'incident, montrant les impacts de balles alors que des civils et des militants du Hamas tentaient de lui venir en aide mais étaient forcés de reculer sous les tirs. En fin de compte, le cameraman a pu être évacué. Il a été hospitalisé à Gaza où il a été amputé des deux jambes.

Des sources militaires israéliennes auraient estimé que

    tout "photographe en zone de combat prenait des risques".

    Une autre source militaire israélienne a estimé que les cameramen de la télévision Al-Aqsa "ne peuvent être considérés comme des journalistes, car ils font partie du bras armé du Hamas et leurs films servent à des fins de propagande ou de renseignement".

by Laurent GUERBY on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 10:30:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The battle is over legal fees. Neuborne is seeking $4.76 million for almost eight years of work representing Holocaust survivors in the distribution of the Swiss-bank settlement for plundering Jewish assets in World War II. Some of the survivors are furious. They thought he had been working for free. They had heard him say so several times, or so it seemed. They were already angry at Neuborne for backing the judge and opposing them--"betraying" them, in their view--in a crucial decision that diverted more than $100 million of that payout to needy survivors in Russia. Now here he is, staking a claim to settlement funds they regard as "holy."

Elan Steinberg, former executive director of the World Jewish Congress, calls Neuborne's $4.76 million bill a "moral disgrace," pointing out that in a similar class-action suit against German industry, Neuborne already made $4.4 million. Menachem Rosensaft, a lawyer and the founding chairman of the International Network of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, says, "There is a point at which even greed becomes unseemly." Robert Swift, a Philadelphia human-rights lawyer who also worked on the case--and clashed with Neuborne--says flatly, "Burt did a lot of things here that we would not want to teach our kids in law school." Others disagree: "In my opinion, he has done a superb job, in the finest tradition of what lawyers should do," says Michael Bazyler, a Whittier Law School professor who has written about the case. And the dispute has split the Jewish community. Next week, the Anti-Defamation League will give Neuborne its annual American Heritage Award, recognizing his work on behalf of the survivors and others. Gary Rosenblatt, the editor and publisher of The Jewish Week, wrote in a column, "Whatever number ultimately is determined to be fair pay for Neuborne, he should be compensated with a sense of gratitude, not bitterness, and the focus should return to pressuring those governments and banks and other institutions to pay what they have long owed."

http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=3&ar=68

by zoe on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 01:12:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So in 60 years the children of today's Palestinians will be able to sue the state of Israel, for the psychological conflicts they suffer?
by Fran on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 06:21:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, you don't understand. Israel is by definition the victim.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 06:58:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It would set a precedent, so I would think yes.
by lychee on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 03:16:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let´s not mention the effects of living through 59 years of violent hate proyection, on anyone German or Arab, by the state of Israel.

The suit is intended to benefit an estimated 15,000 children of survivors in Israel who are in need of psychological treatment as a result of being raised in dysfunctional homes.

*"children" here must have a new age definition than in the rest of the planet, so that anyone over 18/21 can be considered a helpless victim.

*"raised in dysfunctional homes."  I qualify.  Doesn´t everyone, really, by today´s standards versus their parents, in any country?

the money will only be used to pay for treatment and an accompanying cultural project

"cultural project" = prolong a politically-convenient conflict for an extra century, through media management.

The suit also includes a professional opinion by a top Israeli psychiatrist

with no financial, national, nor religious bias whatsoever, I am sure...

If the case does not succeed in Israel, Mazor says the Fisher Fund may file another suit in a German or international court. They are already collecting money to do so, he said. "But if the Tel Aviv court recognizes that the second generation are also victims, then that is already a significant step,"

These "children" can wait another decade for PTSD treatment because the publicity is worth it...  Of course!, we are doing it for the "children"...  We will collect money for lawsuits first so we can take care of the "children"...

"People in Israel feel we are doing something moral and important," he said. "They say we are doing holy work."

No comment.


Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sat Jul 14th, 2007 at 09:11:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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