Case | HBS Case Collection | March 2013 (Revised March 2013)

Rough Justice: Stuart Eizenstat and Holocaust-era Asset Restitution (A)

by James K. Sebenius and Laurence A. Green

Abstract

Beginning in 1994, a series of articles and public disclosures indicated that Swiss banks may have retained assets belonging to victims of the Holocaust, and also may have engaged in long term attempts to block survivors' ability to recover those assets after World War II. Stuart Eizenstat, a longtime government official, and U.S. Special Envoy for Property Restitution, undertook a complex multi-year negotiation between victims' representatives, advocacy groups, government officials, and the banks in an unprecedented attempt to obtain restitution for the victims. Unifying fractious parties within an uncertain legal, social, and business landscape, Eizenstat's unique approach of quantifying "rough justice" in order to enforce the accountability of corporate entities and governments for past injustices in Switzerland, forms the basis of this study.

Keywords: negotiation; banking; Banking and Insurance; u.s. history; Germany; Europe; Governance; History; Negotiation; Business and Government Relations; Banking Industry; Insurance Industry; Germany; United States; Switzerland;

Citation:

Sebenius, James K., and Laurence A. Green. "Rough Justice: Stuart Eizenstat and Holocaust-era Asset Restitution (A)." Harvard Business School Case 913-037, March 2013. (Revised March 2013.)