SU presents Nov. 5 panel discussion on Nazi property seizure
Syracuse University will sponsor a special panel discussion on Nazi property seizure titled “Hitler’s Seed Money and the Legal Struggle to Get It Back.” The event, free and open to the public, is Friday, Nov. 5, from 4-6 p.m. in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium in Newhouse 3. It is co-sponsored by the Renée Crown University Honors Program and the Judaic Studies Program, both administered by SU’s College of Arts and Sciences. For more information, call (315) 443-2759.
The discussion focuses on Nacher v. Dresdner Bank, a landmark case filed in New York in 1994 and the first to seek to hold the Nazis liable for the theft of private property to finance World War II. According to event organizer Samuel Gorovitz, the Nacher family owned a majority interest in a large German brewery, hotel and restaurant company called Englehardt Breweries, Inc. “Englehardt was wrongfully seized by Dresdner Bank in 1934, and the Nacher family had to flee from Germany. This theft provided much of the seed money for World War II,” he says.
Nacher v. Dresdner led to 56 similar cases in U.S. courts against German banks and industrial corporations. In 2000, the U.S. Treasury Dept. took over all the cases and negotiated a $5 billion settlement to compensate every Holocaust survivor in the world. The Nacher family continues to recover income from a portion of their holdings in related proceedings in Germany.
Paul Kerson, Marc Leavitt and Joseph Yamaner are the Nacher family’s lawyers in New York. Through the German Consulate in New York, they retained Sebastian Schuetz of Berlin (who grew up in Tel Aviv) to be the Nacher family lawyer in Germany. Ronnie Mandowsky of Toronto is the executor of the Nacher Estate. All five will come together at SU for their first public discussion of Nacher v. Dresdner.
“This 14-year saga of faith, hope, courage, teamwork and imagination has been a quest for justice over decades and oceans unlike any other,” says Kerson, calling Nacher v. Dresdner the “case of all cases.”
“‘Nacher v. Dresdner’ provides innumerable lessons in ethics, law, international relations, faith, courage, creativity, the horrors of war and the value of tenacity in the pursuit of justice,” says Gorovitz, a professor of philosophy who earlier was dean of Arts and Sciences and then founding director of the new Honors Program.