Thursday, January 27, 2005


Insurer pays Armenians—90 years later

As Vice President Cheney and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz try to clothe themselves in the garments of the liberators of Auschwitz (which was liberated by the Soviets, by the way), descendants of the Armenian genocide have something truly to celebrate.

The Armenian genocide is known as "the first genocide of the 20th century." Committed by Turkey between 1915 and 1919, the genocide resulted in a number of insurance claims that had gone unsettled.

According to Karen Matthews of Newsday,

Five New York-area Armenian charities received checks for $333,333 each on Wednesday as part of a settlement between an insurance company and descendants of Armenians killed 90 years ago in the Ottoman Empire.

The settlement approved last year by U.S. District Court Judge Christina A. Snyder in Los Angeles is believed to be the first ever in connection with the events of the era.

Under the settlement, $3 million was earmarked for charities and at least $11 million was set aside for the heirs of New York Life policy holders, with $2 million used for administrative costs and anything not spent on expenses going to additional charities.

The remainder of the $3 million will be handed out to four additional Armenian charities in a ceremony in Los Angeles.

Brian Kabateck, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit, said there were 2,300 policies issued to Armenians in Turkey before 1915 that were never paid. People who believe they may be descended from the policy holders have until March 16 to file claims.

The Turkish newspaper Zaman also briefly reports the settlement but reflects the Turkish position that the genocide didn't happen.

An American insurance company named New York Life Insurance has made its first payments to the beneficiaries of policyholders killed in the alleged Armenian Genocide.

The Company made the payments according to an agreement reached between the beneficiaries of policyholders that died in the alleged genocide and that bought life insurance policies before 1915. Payments of $333,333 were made to five Armenian foundations in the US yesterday.

Can the EU really contemplate admitting Turkey to its membership without Turkish acknowledgement of the genocide? I would think the Germans would be miffed.

This is also a reminder of how the survivors and descendants of these two Western genocides have been subsequently treated. The efforts of the Jews to recover property taken by the Nazis, Soviets, Americans and anybody else who could get their hand in the till, including the Israelis, speaks to the depths our civilization has attained.

Related posts
The magic word: Genocide (9/13/04)
Powell's follow-up on Sudanese genocide (9/15/04)

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