- Allianz Ag
- Germany’s largest insurance company worked closely with the Nazi government. Prior to the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, executives of Allianz, through cash contributions, openly courted the Nazi Party. During the period of the Third Reich, an executive of Allianz, Kurt Schmitt, became Adolf Hitler’s first minister of economics and wore the Schutzstaffel (SS) uniform. Another, Eduard Hilgard, worked both as an executive of Allianz AG and as the head of the Reich agency that oversaw the insurance companies.In 1933, the German government legislated a law that permitted the confiscation of the Jewish-owned property of those who had migrated from the country. This same law was later applied to Jews who were deported to the death camps. Under these circumstances, insurance companies, like Allianz AG, profited through their cooperation with the government. As a result of Nazi persecution, thousands of Jews emigrated from Germany, whereupon the insurance companies seized their insurance policies and handed them over to the government. Perhaps the most significant example of the cooperation of Allianz AG with the Nazis occurred in the aftermath of Kristallnacht. Against the background of the vast destruction of Jewish property, Allianz AG limited claims made by Jews to only three cents on a dollar. The money, however, was paid to the Reich treasury, rather than to the victims of the state-sponsored pogrom.In German-occupied Europe, the assets of the local insurance companies were taken over by companies such as Allianz AG. After the war, survivors of the Holocaust and relatives of the victims placed claims against Allianz AG, which the company denied because the claimants lacked death certificates, policy numbers, or other documentation. Furthermore, Allianz AG contended that all survivors who were entitled to benefits were already compensated by the German government. Attorneys for the claimants responded by calling the Allianz AG argument preposterous, and in 1997 filed a lawsuit on behalf of the survivors, which demanded not only equitable compensation for the victims but also that Allianz AG open the files of their transactions during the Third Reich. In May 1998, a New York State Senate committee revealed that German insurance companies, such as Allianz AG, had colluded with the Nazi government in the widespread theft of the insurance assets of European Jews.
Historical dictionary of the Holocaust. Jack R. Fischel. 2014.