The grandson of pioneering psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud has been awarded $168,000 in the case against Swiss banks accused of betraying their Holocaust-era customers in favor of the Nazis.
The estate of Anton Walter Freud, who died last year at age 83, will receive the money as part of a $3 million payout to 23 claimants, according to a written ruling Wednesday by US District Judge Edward Korman.
The judge approved the payment in federal court in the New York City borough of Brooklyn based on the recommendation of a court-appointed tribunal that disburses funds set aside under a settlement between Holocaust survivors and the banks.
The survivors and their families sued Credit Suisse Group, UBS AG and other Swiss banks, accusing them of stealing, concealing or sending to the Nazis hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Jewish holdings and destroying bank records to cover the paper trail.
The judge approved a $1.25 billion settlement in 1998 and appointed the tribunal to process more than 30,000 claims. Lawyers representing the victims say about 3,000 claims totaling $287 million have been paid thus far.
In Sigmund Freud's case, a tribunal investigation found convincing evidence that he was a victim of Nazi persecution and that "much of (his) property and assets were confiscated" by the Nazis, the judge wrote.
The judge also noted that all four of Freud's sisters died in concentration camps, two at Treblinka, one at Auschwitz and one at Theresienstadt.
Freud first became a target in Austria in March 1938. The Nazis raided his home and publishing house, confiscating documents and new books that were later destroyed.
The tribunal cited the firsthand observations of Freud's friend and official biographer, Ernest Jones, who wrote, "Of course, Freud's bank account was confiscated."
Freud's own diary recalled how Jones had visited him and persuaded him to leave Austria, court papers said. He and his family were allowed to leave for London on June 4, 1938.
"They let me bring some things out of Austria - just enough to work with," he told reporters on a stopover in Paris. "Everything else - my money and property in Vienna - is gone."
Freud died in exile on Sept. 23, 1939, at age 83.
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