(11 Total References)
AJR: Front Page Articles
Karen Heilig of the Claims Conference staff also deserves special recognition.
Several other significant agreements were reached at our Jerusalem negotiations:
Colette Avital; and Claims Conference Executive Vice President Greg Schneider and staff Karen Heilig, Christiane Reeh, and Konrad Matschke â€" play a significant role in convincing Germany of its moral responsibility to aid elderly Holocaust survivors.
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Panel:Karen Heilig,Director of International Relations/Staff Counsel,Claims Conference
Mama Mia â€” Ivan Ciment is Engaged! | Global Thoughts
Last night, from centerstage at Broadway's Winter Garden Theater, home of the show "Mama Mia," Karen Heilig accepted Ivan Ciment's proposal of marriage.
Playing on the show's signature song "Dancing Queen," Ciment asked Heilig
to be his "Real Life Queen.
, thinking she
was being taken out to celebrate her
birthday, was utterly floored.
Heilig, of Sydney Australia, is chief counsel and assistant executive vice president of the Conference on Material Claims against Germany, an NGO.
and Ciment currently live 2 blocks apart on Manhattan's Upper West Side and met last summer via JDate
, an internet dating service.
"The Americans can't locate Osama for $25 million and to think I found Karen
for $19.95 on JDate
- wow!", said Ciment.
Karen Heilig, the subject of a feature article in The Age newspaper, Melbourne, 1999
left a career in corporate law to fight for the rights of Holocaust survivors.
paternal grandfather, a Czechoslovakian lawyer, perished in a Nazi concentration camp in the Bohemian fortress town of Thereseinstadt.
now fights for justice on behalf of Holocaust survivors worldwide, including 200,000 former slave laborers.
The young Australian lawyer is an important and passionate player in negotiating history-making restitution settlements with many of the world's most powerful corporations, among them Siemens, BMW, VW, Daimler Chrysler, BASF
and Krupp, the Deutsche
and Commerz banks
, and insurance giants Axa, Generali
, Zurich and Winterthur.
The German, Austrian, French, Italian and Swiss corporations involved are expected to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars to atone for wartime wrongs.
Heilig is the director of special projects and assistant legal counsel for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany.
The Claims Conference
, US, Israeli and Eastern European government representatives, and class-action lawyers are negotiating a slave labor settlement with 16 German firms.
US insurance regulators, Israel and the conference are negotiating a settlement with insurers on policies brought by Holocaust victims.
At issue are highly complex issues such as how to value old insurance policies and who is responsible for policies nationalized by Communist states after the war.
Israel, the conference and class-action lawyers are also in negotiations with Creditstalt (Bank Austria) over its World War II "Aryanization" activities.
Heilig's job entails tackling complex legal, political and moral issues in the separate sets of negotiations at frequent meetings in Bonn, Washington, Jerusalem and London.
is driven in her
says by the inspiration of both her
deceased grandfather and father, and the proud encouragement of her
Based in New York, but more likely to be found crisscrossing the globe, Heilig
spoke with Today about her
role during a brief visit to Melbourne.
"I really feel that we have morality and justice on our side, so it makes you more fervent, more confident in your position.
It gives you that extra drive to go the extra mile, knowing that you're doing it for such important reasons.
I feel honored that I have been given the responsibility and the trust to do the job."
Since 1951, the Claims Conference
has continuously pursued restitution for Jewish-owned properties stolen or destroyed by the Nazis.
From the closure of its initial negotiations in 1952, the German government has paid $98 billion for suffering and losses under the Nazis.
Raised in the Sydney suburb of Maroubra, Heilig
moved to Melbourne after university to take up a job with the law firm of Mallesons Stephen Jaques
She worked next in Jerusalem with the leading Israeli law firm Herzog Fox Neeman, then relocated to New York and a foreign associate's position with a leading law firm, Skadden Arps.
Through her involvement in international Jewish student politics, Heilig
befriended Gideon Taylor, the son of a well-known Irish Labor MP.
: "This really is the final moral chapter.
Archive of April 14, 2000
The strongest moral argument came from the Jews , based on the slave-labor issue , said Karen Heilig , staff counsel for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany , which was among the groups negotiating on behalf of the laborers.
This was the driving force behind all the negotiations with Germany , she
A series of lawsuits brought in recent years in US and German courts on behalf of Jewish slave laborers are generally credited with getting Germany to agree to the fund.Indeed , German firms had demanded that the agreement include a provision giving them protection against any future lawsuits.Heilig
said the presence of German subsidiaries on US soil , which made them the targets of possible sanctions , also played a role in getting Germany to agree to the fund.
There were several other factors , she
said , pointing to the reunification of the two Germanys , recently declassified Holocaust-era documents and a $1.25 billion agreement involving Swiss banks that was reached in 1998 to settle claims surrounding Switzerland's handling of Holocaust victims' assets.
A lot of different pieces of the puzzle started coming together , said Heilig
Compared to the Jewish effort , Eastern European countries joined the negotiations far more recently.
Although Germany has paid more than $54 billion in compensation to Holocaust survivors since WW II , no payments were made to those living in the Soviet-bloc countries during the Cold War.
The negotiators -- including representatives of Holocaust survivors , the German , US and Eastern European governments , and German companies -- agreed last December on the size of the fund , to be split equally by German government and industry.