In the summer of 1998, two major Swiss banks agreed to settle claims with Holocaust survivors who had filed a federal class action lawsuit against them. Credit Suisse and Union Bank of Switzerland agreed to pay claimants $1.25 billion, the largest settlement in the history of human rights claims in the United States. The settlement was made in response to allegations that the banks had improperly appropriated the assets of Holocaust victims who deposited money and valuables prior to, and during, World War II. The Swiss Bank lawsuits and settlements have proven to be only the starting point for Holocaust related suits recently filed in American courts. Lawsuits have been filed against many European insurance companies who refused to settle Holocaust-era claims. The settlement by Assicurazioni Generali, an Italian insurance company, of a class action suit brought against it for $100 million dollars indicates that an increasing number of these companies view these lawsuits as realistic threats to their business interests.
Stuart M. Kreindler, History's Accounting: Liability Issues Surrounding German Companies for the Use of Slave Labor by Their Corporate Forefathers, 18 Penn St. Int'l L. Rev. 343 (2000).