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>JN Aug. 19, 1998. Vol. 6. No. 148

Abu Nidal Captured in Egypt

By IsraelWire

According to a German news agency, Egyptian security officials have apprehended Abu Nidal, considered to be among the most infamous and wanted terrorists in the world. Abu Nidal was placed under arrest by Egyptian authorities several days ago, after he arrived in Cairo.

Abu Nidal has been on-the-run from international authorities and has been living in Libya for the past three years, having fled from Sudan. Sabri Muchmad el-Banah, known as Abu Nidal, was born in Jaffa 60 years ago. He moved to Nablus, where his family still resides. He became one of the early members of the Fatah terrorist organization, under the leadership of Yasir Arafat but it was not long before he objected to the organization's methods. He became a staunch opponent of Arafat.

In 1973, the Fatah Court handed down a death sentence against him. He managed to flee to Iraq where he was granted refuge. Later on, he was also based in Syria, Libya, Algeria and Lebanon. During the 1970s and 1980s, he was responsible for many terrorist attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets worldwide.

Holocaust Claims

By Arutz-7 News Service

Last week's settlement between Holocaust survivors and the Swiss banks has given new impetus to survivors' claims against European insurance companies.

Holocaust survivors and Jewish charities are on the verge of finalizing a $65 million agreement with the Italian insurance company Assicurazioni Generali SpA regarding charges that it did not pay the policies of Eastern European Jews after World War 2.

Israel sent a letter to Generali requesting it open its books on Holocaust era policies, to assist survivors and their heirs in making claims. Generali has reached a partial agreement with the Israeli Knesset to pay $12 million to Holocaust survivors.

Ha'aretz reports Munich lawyer Michael Witti is representing 30,000 Holocaust survivors in an $18 billion class-action lawsuit against two German banks, accusing them of profiting from trade in gold -- including rings, coins, and dental work -- robbed from Jews exterminated in Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps.

The lawsuit against Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank filed in June, accused them of knowingly trading in looted gold jewelry, coins and dental work plundered from Jews exterminated in Nazi death camps.

German Jewish leader Ignatz Bubis said the German banks had already started to address the issue before the suit was filed and that Deutsche Bank had already donated 5.6 million marks to survivors' funds.

"The banks, Deutsche and Dresdner, have been in talks with the World Jewish Congress for a long time and not since these individual claims were filed," Bubis, chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told Deutschlandfunk radio.

Asked whether the banks should set up a victims' fund: "The industry and banks are called upon to do something." Bubis has refused to support the claim against the German banks, saying the high sums they were asking were probably the lawyers' and not the victims' demands. He also rejected suggestions German banks should be subjected to the threat of an economic boycott similar to that seen as having forced Swiss banks to reach a settlement.

Bubis said German industry always argued the German government, as legal heir to the Third Reich, should pay Holocaust claims and that Bonn had met such claims under the 1953 Federal Compensation Law.

Deutsche and Dresdner also say that while they recognize their moral responsibility during the Third Reich, Germany had already paid 100 million marks in reparations to Nazi victims.

But Holocaust researcher Hersch Fischler, whose recovery of Reichsbank (Nazi central bank) files last December showed that the two German banks had bought Holocaust victims' gold, said German banks profited more from victims' gold than the Swiss.

He said most of the gold the Swiss banks bought from Nazi Germany was plundered from banks in Nazi-occupied countries and only a fraction -- about 120 kg -- was concentration camp gold, while the Reichsbank files showed Deutsche had bought 650 kg victims' gold and Dresdner 313 kg.

"The victims' gold was sold mainly to German companies," Fischler said. "Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Bank, Degussa (metal company) and other companies bought more victims' gold than the Swiss banks."

Fischler argues that most of the victims' gold -- or Melmer gold named after the SS officer who organized deliveries from the death camps -- was melted-down dental work because coins, rings and jewelry were more lucrative in their original form.

An independent report commissioned by the Swiss government showed earlier this year that the Swiss National Bank had bought 119.5 kg of Melmer gold worth $134,428.

Also earlier this year, an independent historic commission set up to investigate gold purchases during the Nazi era, concluded that Deutsche Bank may have purchased up to 744-kilos of the Melmer gold.

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