The Warp and Woof of History

Following world events and their personal impact on me, I find threads of history weaving together in my mind with current events. First I will recount the history regarding a singular example of the Nazi era persecution of Jews that I became aware of a couple of years ago.

I assisted a French friend, C, with a legal problem in the US.  A claim was made for Swiss bank accounts of her grandfather, RK, following from the findings of the Independent Committee of Eminent Persons (ICEP, also known as the Volker Commission).  The ICEP “was established in 1996 to investigate the accounts lying dormant since the Second World War in various banks in Switzerland,” specifically of Jews who had been caught up in some aspect of the Holocaust.  The committee was headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volker and consisted of three members chosen by Jewish groups and three by the Swiss banks.  The grandparents had both passed away before the claim was filed.  The complications arose from who controlled this process, the lawyer who actually made the claim, who was hired by the lawyer for the estate of the grandmother, or the family, C and Against the State: An ... Rockwell Jr., Llewelly... Best Price: $5.02 Buy New $5.52 (as of 11:35 EST - Details) her siblings.

RK was born 25 October 1889 in Vienna, but had left Austria in 1934 before the Nazi takeover in 1938.  Below I give two excerpts from the letter making the claim to a tribunal that explains the case. First is the historical setting; of note is the requirement to register all assets above a certain amount.

By decree on 26 April 1938, the Nazi Regime required all Jews who resided within the Reich, or who were nationals of the Reich, including Austria, and who held assets above a specified level to register all their assets as of 27 April 1938 (the “1938 Census”).  In the records of the Austrian State Archive (Archive of the Republic, Finance), there are documents concerning the assets of RK, numbered #####. Getting Out: Your Guid... Mark Ehrman Best Price: $2.25 Buy New $6.94 (as of 08:00 EST - Details)

The second excerpt covers particulars of the situation regarding RK; of note here is the pressure put on the Swiss banks by the Nazi regime.

The CRT [Claims Resolution Tribunal] notes that the Bank’s records indicate that the custody account was closed on 21 May 1938 and the demand deposit account was closed on 20 May 1938, at which time, according to information provided by the Claimant, the Account Owner was outside Nazi-dominated territory.  However, given that the Bank’s records do not indicate to whom the accounts were closed, that the records from the Account Owner’s whereabouts, that the accounts were closed shortly after the incorporation of Austria into the Reich in March 1938 (the “Anchluss”), that the Account Owner may have had Fascism versus Capitalism Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. Best Price: $3.39 Buy New $7.45 (as of 05:45 EST - Details) relatives remaining in his country of origin and that he may therefore have yielded to Nazi pressure to turn over his accounts to ensure their safety, that the Account Owner and his heirs would not have been able to obtain information about his accounts after the Second World War from the Bank, even for the stated purpose of obtaining indemnification from the German authorities, due to the Swiss banks’ practice of withholding or misstating account information in their responses to inquiries by account owners because of the banks’ concern regarding double liability, and given the application of Presumptions (h) and (j), as provided in Article 28 of the Rules Governing the Claims Resolution Process, as amended (the “Rules”)(see Appendix A), the CRT concludes that is plausible that the account proceeds were not paid to the Account Owner, the Power of Attorney Holder, or their heirs.  Based on its precedent and the Rules, the CRT applies presumptions to assist in the determination of whether or not Account Owners or their heirs received the proceeds of their accounts. Kindle E-reader, 6&rdq... Best Price: $29.99 Buy New null (as of 01:00 EST - Details)

Now as an ex-pat living in France I closely follow the actions of the US regime requiring a census of all assets of nationals; namely The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA).  The resemblance to the Nazi regime is becoming too close to be ignored.  There is some pushback through law suites (see here) but the estimated 7 million American ex-pats are an unrepresented minority that is not recognized by the regime.  It is becoming mainstream news that Americans are renouncing their citizenship in record numbers but will there be anywhere to hide from the empire.  Even China and Russia have been compelled to comply with FACTA; and Putin signed the law in the midst of the Ukraine crisis with the economic sanctions directed at him.

I remember thinking about the trials of my parents’ generation that lived through the great depression and WWII.  Or even more, with the people who lived through the totalitarian regimes of Germany, Russia, or China, and wondering how I would have coped with the catastrophic and cataclysmic events.  Now the warp and woof of history is repeating its patterns with a vengeance and I am afraid I will be impelled to find out how I will endure the recurrence of troubling times.