Karrer to head new Nazi compensation commission

The president of the Swiss Arbitration Association, Pierre Karrer, is to take charge of a new body set up to decide compensation payouts to people who suffered property loss under the Nazis.

This content was published on May 15, 2001 minutes

The International Organization for Migration was given the task last year of distributing a DM10 billion fund ($4.6 billion), set up by the German government, to compensate slave or forced labourers during World War Two.

The new independent commission, which was formed as part of that framework, will process compensation claims from Jews and non-Jews, who suffered financial loss at the hands of German businesses.

A fund of DM200 million ($90 million) has been set aside to deal with take care of the claims.

Karrer, who is a partner at Zurich-based legal firm, Pestalozzi Gmür & Patry, is also a lecturer at the University of Zurich.

As well as being president of the Swiss Arbitration Association, Karrer has extensive experience in chairing more than 100 arbitration panels around the world.

Karrer will be joined on the commission by two other members: professor Richard Buxbaum from the United States and Germany's professor Gerold Herrmann.

Claims have to be submitted to the International Organization for Migration, and it will then be up to the three-strong panel to decide on their eligibility.

Only victims who suffered property loss through the intervention of a German firm, and not military action, will be compensated.

The property claim could be a plot of land, a store or home that was seized by a factory. Or it could be shares in a firm which were confiscated by a bank or were forcibly sold to a bank.

Compensation will only be paid out to those who suffered financial loss as a consequence of persecution on account of their race or their political, religious or ideological beliefs.

Relatives of the victims will be able to apply for compensation, but they must not have already been compensated under another war reparation programme.

swissinfo with agencies

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