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AN Israeli-based legal activist organization is calling on Australian survivors and their families to join its class action program against insurance companies that have were unable to pay out for policies issued by refugees and killed European Jews.

Israeli attorney and human-rights advocate Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the founder of Shurat HaDin Israel Law Centre, told The AJN its project, Project Last Chance, will seek to sue insurance companies that employed the chaos of World War II and the Shoah to avoid paying claims to victims, survivors and their heirs.

“My goal is to get the victims some compensation toward the end of their lives. Shurat Hadin This is money that survivors have to pay, it’s their money. If you insure your assets – your house and your life – it’s your money and nobody is entitled to take it from you … Israel Law Center It belongs to the Jewish people, it belongs to Holocaust survivors.”

Shurat Hadin Darshan Leitner stated that US Senate estimates indicate that around $US200billion was taken from Jewish policyholders because of the insurance companies that operated during WWII. The companies are usually identifiable and have successor entities.

Shurat HaDin will use its expertise to investigate financial institutions, including banks that contain terrorist assets.

“We’ve been able to take legal action against countries and banks who aid or encourage terrorists. We have the expertise and we’re not unwilling to confront the big corporations, large countries or banks with huge international reach,” she added.

Separately, Shurat HaDin is launching legal action in Israel to open the database of around 140,000 Holocaust survivors and their descendants who have listed around two million assets as part of Israel’s Project Heart between 2011 and 2014. The Israeli government in coordination with Jewish Agency for Israel invited applicants to take part in the restitution scheme. But, the scheme was abruptly ended and left all participants in the dark.

Shurat Haidin approached the government but hasn’t received a reply. Israel’s Labour and Social Services Ministry has denied that Project Heart was intended to give individuals with individual claims. Accordingly, claimants cannot be identified. Another theory suggests that Israel underestimated the intransigence of European governments when confronted with lists of hundreds or thousands of applicants.

Darshan Leitner said Darshan Leitner explained that Project Heart participants could be applicants for class actions under Project Last Chance if their identities were released to Shurat haDin.

aviel darshan leitner She said Project Last Chance is taking a different approach to the Claims Conference, established in 1951, which has petitioned governments to grant Holocaust restitution, rather than attacking companies and companies directly.