Switzerland: Historic Proposal for Gay Victims of the Nazis as Part of Swiss Bank Litigation Proposal

Pink Triangle Coaliton’s Fund would be first of its kind Lawsuit prompting settlement plan is first ever requiring recognition of Nazi gay persecution

For Immediate Release: August 7, 2001

See also
Swiss Bank Claims
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund
Pink Triangle Coalition
Further Background

NEW YORK, August 7, 2001— An international coalition Thursday will announce a historic proposal asking a New York federal court to allocate some of a $1.25 billion settlement of the lawsuit against Switzerland’s two largest banks for a fund to recognize and address Nazi persecution of gay people.

Such a fund would be the first of its kind. The lawsuit prompting the court’s settlement plan is the first to force recognition that gay people were systematically persecuted by the Nazis.

“No amount of money will ever right this historical wrong for any of the individuals and groups victimized by the Nazis. However, the Pink Triangle Coalition seeks to fulfill the responsibility of honoring the memory of the Nazi's gay victims,” said Julie Dorf, representative for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission to the Pink Triangle Coalition. Also on Thursday, the Coalition will file its proposal with the United States Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Representatives of the Coalition and of Lambda Legal Defense and Educaton Fund will discuss the proposal at a news conference to be held at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan.

The lawsuit resulting in the settlement was filed against the Swiss banks to recover funds deposited in the banks by victims of Nazi persecution and never returned to their rightful owners. In addition, the settlement provides compensation for the banks’ unjust enrichment from that the Nazis looted from the victims or derived from slave labor. The court-administered plan to distribute settlement funds recognizes that the Nazis specifically targeted gay people, alongside Jews, Sinti and Roma (gypsies), Jehovah’s Witnesses, and people with disabilities.

Lambda is the oldest and largest legal organization dedicated to the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, and people with HIV and AIDS. In addition to its headquarters, Lambda has regional offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta and will open an office in Dallas in 2002.

WHAT: News conference regarding the Pink Triangle Coalition’s request in the Swiss banks litigation

WHO: Julie Dorf, Former Executive Director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission; Gerard Koskovich, Historian and General Delegate for the United States to the Mémorial de la Déportation Homosexuelle; Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah; and Michael Adams, Deputy Legal Director of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.

WHERE: Steven Wise Free Synagogue, 30 West 68th Street (between Central Park West and Broadway, New York)

WHEN: Thursday, August 9, 1:00 p.m.

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