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BRAMA, August 22, 2001, 1am ET


Press Release

New Filing Deadline For Claims Under Swiss Banks Settlement
Claimants allowed to submit their claims until 31 December 2001

GENEVA, 17 August 2001 - The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York has extended the deadline for the filing of claims under the Settlement Agreement reached between Holocaust survivors and Swiss Banks in 1999. The new deadline is 31 December 2001. With this move, the US Court followed the German Parliament's decision to extend the deadline forthe German compensation programme for slave and forced labour during the Nazi era.

"The streamlining of the filing deadlines of the two compensation programmes is a victim-friendly decision. The extension also allows the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to launch additional campaigns in order to broaden its outreach and assistance to specific groups of persecuted persons including Roma, Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexual and physically or mentally handicapped persons", Dirk de Winter, the Director of IOM's Holocaust Victim Assets Programme (Swiss Banks), pointed out.

The US$ 1.25 billion Settlement Fund will serve to compensate for deposits in Swiss banks owned by Holocaust victims but never returned to their heirs and to pay compensation to former slave labourers and certain other victims of the National Socialist regime. IOM is responsible for the following three classes of claimants: non-Jewish victims of Nazi persecution who performed slave labour for German companies or for the Nazi regime (Slave Labour Class I) all persons who performed slave labour for certain Swiss companies or their affiliates (Slave Labour Class II) and non-Jewish victims of Nazi persecution who were denied entry into Switzerland or who were detained, abused or otherwise mistreated as refugees in Switzerland, during the period 1 January 1933 to 9 May 1945 (Refugee Class). Heirs of victims in all three classes are only entitled to claim compensation if the victim has died on or after 16 February 1999.

Under its Holocaust Victim Assets Programme (Swiss Banks) IOM is expecting to receive a total of 20,000 to 25,000 claims and will distribute approximately US$ 20 to 25 million to victims of the Nazi regime. So far, IOM has received 1,500 completed claim forms. All claims have to be filed by 31 December 2001.

Claim forms and guidelines in different languages as well as a list of Slave Labour Class II companies and a partial list of refugees denied entry into or expelled from Switzerland are available free of charge at IOM in Geneva under the helpline number +41-22-7179204 and on the Internet at www.swissbankclaims.iom.int. All claims will be processed in Geneva.

For more information in North America, please contact Audrey Cash-Field Office Co-ordinator at 202.862.1826. Information, guidelines and claim forms may be obtained through IOM Washington, hotline number 1.877.691.2862 (toll-free in the US and Canada).

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For additional information, please contact:
IOM/Holocaust Victim Assets
Programme (Swiss Banks)
17, route des Morillons - P.O. Box 71, CH-1211 Geneva 19, Switzerland,
Internet: www.swissbankclaims.iom.int

 


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