The Holocaust settlements

Several cases arising out of the Holocaust - the worst human rights crime in recent memory - brought significant benefits to victims of abuses aided by corporations.

In the Holocaust banks case, Holocaust survivors sued Swiss banks that collaborated with the Nazi regime during World War II by laundering stolen funds, jewelry and art treasures. The case resulted in a $1.25 billion settlement for the victims, and similar cases against Austrian and French banks also resulted in significant settlements.  This litigation led academics to revise their assessment of Switzerland’s relationship with Nazi Germany and exposed the extent of business participation in the Holocaust.

Another set of cases was brought by forced and slave laborers against German companies that profited from the use of forced slave labor during World War II. These cases, which resulted in a groundbreaking $5.2 billion settlement, were resolved by multinational negotiations, and over one and a half million individuals in 41 countries received compensation.