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An activist group for legal rights based in Israel is urging Australian survivors of the Holocaust and their descendants to join its program to bring lawsuits against insurance companies whose Holocaust antecedents refused to pay out for policies owned by refugees European Jews.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner is an Israeli human-rights advocate and Israeli attorney. aviel darshan leitner She was the founder of Shurat HaDin Israel Law Centre. The AJN announced that it’s initiative Project Last Chance will investigate insurance companies that took advantage of the chaos of Shoah to avoid paying claims for victims, survivors or their descendants.

“My mission at present is to ensure that victims receive some kind of compensation at the end. This money is owed to survivors. It’s their money. When you insure your assets – your house or your life – it’s all your money and no one is entitled to take it away from you … nitsana darshan leitner It belongs to the Jewish people, and it’s owed to Holocaust survivors.”

Shurat Hadin Darshan Leitner stated that US Senate estimations have shown that $US200B in payments were withheld by Jewish policyholders who had delinquent WWII insurance firms. This includes many with known successors today who have inherited these liability.

Shurat HaDin is leveraging its experience in the investigation of financial institutions, such as banks that hold the funds of terrorist organisations.

“We have brought legal action against countries and banks against those who help or encourage terrorists. We’ve got the information and aren’t afraid of taking on nations, big corporations or large international banks,”” she said.

Shurat Haidin is also planning to launch legal action against Israel in order to obtain the names of 140,000 Holocaust survivors/descended – who have listed approximately two million assets under Israel’s Project Heart. In conjunction with the Jewish Agency for Israel the Israeli government has invited prospective applicants to join the restitution program. The program, however, was abruptly ended, leaving the registered participants in limbo.

Shurat HaDin tried to get in touch with the government, but did not receive a reply. But Israel’s Labour and Social Services Ministry stated that Project Heart was never intended to be a scheme for individual claims therefore the details of claimants cannot be released. nitsana darshan leitner A theory suggests Israel underestimated European governments’ intransigence regarding lists of thousands or hundreds of claimants.

nitsana darshan leitner Darshan Leitner told me that if they are recognized as Shurat HaDin the Project Heart participants may be qualified for class actions in the context of Project Last Chance. She stated that Project Last Chance is taking an approach that is different from the Claims Conference, established in 1951. It has petitioned governments for Holocaust reparations, instead of targeting companies and firms directly.

Israel Law Center