Holocaust Victims of Bank Theft V Magyar Nemzeti Bank

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Holocaust Victims of Bank Theft V Magyar Nemzeti Bank

Holocaust Victims of Bank Theft v Magyar Nemzeti Bank in 2011

United States views on international law (based on the document “Digest of U.S. Practice in International Law”): On February 18, 2011, the United States filed a statement of interest in a case in federal district court in the Northern District of Illinois. Holocaust Victims of Bank Theft v. Magyar Nemzeti Bank, No. 1:10cv1884(SDY) (N.D. Ill.). The U.S. statement, excerpted below (with footnotes and citations to the exhibits omitted), and available in full at (internet link) state.gov/s/l/c8183.htm, advised the court that dismissal of the claims against two of the defendants, Erste Group Bank AG (“Erste Group”) and MKB Bank, would be in the foreign policy interest of the United States. The case was brought on behalf of victims of bank theft in the former territory of Hungary (or their heirs or next of kin) seeking recovery for assets taken from them by defendant banks during World War II.


The interest of the United States in the case was based on its strong support for cooperative compensation arrangements involving Holocaust claims against German and Austrian companies, in particular the German Foundation, and the Austrian General Settlement Fund (“GSF”). Those arrangements were negotiated and concluded with the intent of providing swifter compensation to victims than could be obtained in U.S. courts and also providing “legal peace” for German and Austrian companies covered by the arrangements. see this world legal encyclopedia in relation to the year 2000 at 446-60 for a discussion of the U.S.-German Agreement and the United States statement of interest seeking dismissal in the consolidated cases involving claims against German companies that was filed after the agreement with Germany originally entered into force in 2000. see this world legal encyclopedia in relation to the year 2001 at 394-406 for a discussion of the agreement with Austria and the statement of interest filed by the United States seeking dismissal of lawsuits pending against Austrian companies in 2001.


The U.S. statement of interest filed in 2011 explained that Erste Group and MKB Bank are covered by the compensation arrangements with Germany and Austria, according to the terms of those arrangements. Several exhibits were attached to the U.S. statement of interest, including two declarations by Under Secretary of State William J. Burns—one regarding Germany and one regarding Austria. The exhibits are available at (internet link) state.gov/s/l/c8183.htm. Under Secretary Burns' declaration regarding Germany appears below, following excerpts from the statement of interest. The declaration regarding Austria is similar. Other exhibits to the statement of interest included declarations of U.S. government officials made at the time the compensation arrangements originally went into effect in 2000.

More about the Issue

On May 18, 2011, the court issued its decision denying all motions to dismiss as to all defendants, including Erste Group and MKB Bank. 807 F.Supp.2d 699 (2011). On August 11, 2011, the court issued another decision, denying motions for reconsideration and clarification and for certification for interlocutory appeal. 807 F.Supp.2d 699 (2011). On September 23, 2011, the United States filed a supplemental statement of interest in response to a supplemental filing by plaintiffs. At the end of 2011, the case was proceeding at the district court level.


See Also

  • International Claims
  • State Responsability
  • Nazi Era Claims
  • Holocaust
  • Victims

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