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RSK
04-20-2005, 12:21 AM
Court reinstates Holocaust survivors' Vatican suit

By The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal appeals court reinstated a lawsuit brought by survivors of the Holocaust in Croatia, the Ukraine and Yugoslavia who allege the Vatican Bank accepted millions of dollars of their valuables stolen by
Nazi sympathizers.

The Vatican Bank, the financial arm of the Roman Catholic Church, denies allegations that during World War II it stored the looted assets from thousands of Gypsies, Jews, Serbs and others who were killed or captured by the Nazi-backed Ustasha regime that controlled Croatia.


A federal judge had dismissed the 1999 case, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Monday the survivors should have their day in court in an effort to be compensated for their monetary losses, and to be given an accounting of what money, if any, the bank received from the Ustasha regime.

An attorney for the survivors and their beneficiaries said the decision, combined with a new pope expected to be named any day, could lead to an out-of-court settlement.

"A new pope might be more energetic than the old pope in these matters," attorney Jonathan Levy said. "The Vatican has been very hesitant on this."

Church officials were not immediately available for comment. The bank's attorney, Jeffrey Lena of Berkeley, California, did not answer repeated phone calls, but told the court in October that the allegations were "particularly tenuous."

Cardinals began meeting in Vatican City on Monday to pick the successor to Pope John Paul II, who died April 2.

In 1998, Swiss banks agreed to pay as much as $1.25 billion to Nazi victims and their families who accused the banks of stealing, concealing or sending to the Nazis hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Jewish holdings and destroying bank records to cover the paper trail.

In reinstating the case against the Vatican Bank, the San Francisco-based appeals court overruled a lower court judge who said the lawsuit was barred because it could upset "governmental negotiations and diplomacy" toward resolving claims originating from World War II.

"No ongoing government negotiations, agreements or settlements are on the horizon," Judge Margaret McKeown ruled for the three-judge panel.

In dissent, Judge Stephen Trott said only Congress and the president, not the judicial branch, have the authority to deal with the fallout of World War II.

"This opinion, albeit well-meaning and well-intentioned, extends the concept of judicial authority into unknown territory and mistakenly exercises power and competence that plainly belongs to the president and Congress," Trott
wrote.

Trott added that the majority's opinion will open up the floodgates for U.S. courts to litigate claims regarding the "horrors from Haiti, Cuba, Rwanda, South African, the Soviet Union, Bosnia, Sudan, Somalia, North Korea, Iraq,
and who knows where?"

The lawsuit includes World War II survivors and their relatives - many living in the United States.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/566813.html

RSK
04-20-2005, 12:22 AM
Metropolitan News-Enterprise



Tuesday, April 19, 2005



Page 1



Panel Revives Claims That Vatican Bank Aided Nazi Puppets



By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer/Appellate Courts



Victims of Nazi persecution in Eastern Europe can sue the Vatican Bank for restitution of property allegedly misappropriated by the Nazi puppet regime that ruled Croatia during World War II, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday.

Judge M. Margaret McKeown, writing for a divided panel, said a federal district judge in San Francisco was wrong to dismiss “garden-variety” property claims as being within the exclusive jurisdiction of the executive and legislativel branches under the political question doctrine.

The panel did, however, uphold District Judge Maxine Chesney’s dismissal of claims that the bank and the Order of Friars Minor—a Franciscan order whose members allegedly held positions of influence in the Ustasha and aided former Ustasha in escaping prosecution after the war—were complicit in the exploitation of slave labor and other wartime activities of Germany’s Croatian allies, known as the Ustasha.

Bank’s Denials

The bank, the financial arm of the Roman Catholic Church, denies allegations that during World War II it stored the looted assets from thousands of gypsies, Jews, Serbs and others who were killed or captured by the Ustasha.

Twenty-four individuals and four groups filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in 1999, on behalf of a class that may number more than 300,000 persons.

The suit followed publication of a State Department report, part of a larger effort to track Holocaust-related assets. The report cited postwar intelligence reports estimating that $80 million in gold from the Ustasha treasury was taken to Italy after the war, that the Vatican maintained relations with the regime in Zagreb during the war, and that the Ustasha leadership received sanctuary at a pontifical college in Rome after the regime was toppled.

The report cites no proof of Vatican involvement in the disposition of the gold, or other looted assets, but declares it “unlikely that [the Pope or his advisers] were entirely unaware of what was going on.” Officials in the Vatican, however, “have told us they have not found any records that could shed light on the Ustasha gold question,” the State Department explained.

Washington Silent

In concluding that federal courts have jurisdiction over the property claims, McKeown acknowledged that “the management of foreign affairs predominantly falls within the sphere of the political branches and the courts consistently defer to those branches.” But she also noted that the U.S. government, despite entreaties from the Vatican, had not taken a position in the litigation.

Unlike similar actions that have been rejected by the federal courts, McKeown added, the property claims do not implicate issues that have been the subject of a treaty or an executive agreement, or that would require that court to make policy decisions normally reserved to the political branches.

Instead, she wrote, the plaintiffs have raised “straightforward claims involv[ing] identifiable personal property for which federal statutes, common law, state law, and well-established case law provide concrete legal bases for courts to reach a reasoned decision.”

She cited the Supreme Court’s decision in Republic of Austria v. Altmann (2004) 541 U.S. 677, rejecting Austria’s claim of sovereign immunity from liability for the alleged misappropriation of artworks stolen from their rightful owner by the Nazis.

The “war objectives” claims, however, were appropriately dismissed, McKeown went on to say. Those allegations, the judge wrote, “present a nonjusticiable political question” of the type normally addressed by war crimes tribunals rather than civil courts.

Trott Dissents

McKeown’s opinion was joined by visiting Senior District Judge Milton I. Shadur of the Northern District of Illinois, but Senior Judge Stephen S. Trott dissented.

Claims involving foreign relations, Trott argued, cannot be considered by the courts, “whether the political branches have done anything about them or not.”

The dissenting jurist elaborated:

“Notwithstanding appellants’ lawyers’ ability to cast this dispute in ‘garden-variety’ legal terms, i.e., conversion, unjust enrichment, restitution, etc., the ineffable fact remains that this functionally is a lawsuit against (1) the Vatican itself, (2) the Vatican Bank, which is an instrumentality of the sovereign state of the Vatican, and (3) untold others — including probably the Pope — seeking relief for World War II wrongs

against foreigners committed by the Nazis and their allies in Europe almost sixty years ago....This set of facts and circumstances strikes me as demanding a ‘single-voiced statement’ of our government’s views, not a series of judgments by our courts.”

An attorney for the survivors and their beneficiaries said the decision, combined with a new pope expected to be named any day, could spark an out-of-court settlement.

The case is Alperin v. Vatican Bank, 03-15208.



Copyright 2005, Metropolitan News Company
http://www.metnews.com/articles/2005/alpe041905.htm

Australian_made
04-20-2005, 02:32 AM
Next thing you know Jews will sue the Gas its self for compo.

I never see the Russians *****ing about their 13-14 million Civilian dead that’s alot more then "6 million".

Mr.K
04-20-2005, 03:20 AM
There is a very interesting book called "The Holocaust Industry" by Norman G. Finkelstein.
Its not "*****ing" that matters , its the amount of money that you can make out of it.

Australian_made
04-20-2005, 03:42 AM
I wonder if any Germans sued anyone\country over the mass deportation after WW2.

Boswell
04-20-2005, 04:04 AM
Next thing you know Jews will sue the Gas its self for compo.

I never see the Russians *****ing about their 13-14 million Civilian dead that’s alot more then "6 million".I too think it would be wise for the survivors and their descendents to get on with their lives.

Uhlan
04-20-2005, 04:30 AM
Next thing you know Jews will sue the Gas its self for compo.

I never see the Russians *****ing about their 13-14 million Civilian dead that’s alot more then "6 million".

Agreed, Since 1953, West Germany has paid out more than $35 billion in reparations to Israels holocaust industry. Enough is enough. Most Germans weren't even born when all this happened. No doubt some people reading this thread will chant their usual mantra of "anti semite" that's the usual response when they realise they have lost the arguement.

Australian_made
04-20-2005, 04:49 AM
The truth is not anti semitism

35 million since 1953 you have to be joking me. Like you said half the people working to pay there taxes to pay this money back would not have been of responsible age from 39-45.

S'13
04-20-2005, 07:20 AM
I never see the Russians *****ing about their 13-14 million Civilian dead that’s alot more then "6 million".

Anyone who was living in the West and was the victim of the Holocaust (Jews and non-Jews) could have received German compensation.

Residents of the Soviet bloc were barred by the Soviet Union from requesting any money.

Have everything you have worked for all your life taken away from you (including your family) and then preach morals about "*****ing".

F*****g idiot...

oldsoak
04-20-2005, 07:38 AM
I thing we should come clean about what was taken form the victims of the holocaust and return it where possible. I would expect a Church bank to abhor blood money, considering the Boss's son got sold for 30 pieces of silver.