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The Victim's Fortune


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John Authers has been a Financial Times journalist since 1990, and conducted most of the research for this book in New York where he was the paper's banking correspondent from 1996 to 2001. Shortly after completing the manuscript, he moved to Mexico City where he is now the paper's bureau chief. A graduate of Oxford University, he more recently took advantage of the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economic and Financial Journalism to study at Columbia University, conducting the early planning for The Victim's Fortune at the journalism school, and earning an MBA from the business school Before going to New York he worked in London, winning awards for coverage of investment (as the Unit Trust Association's national journalist of the year in 1992) and of education (as the Business and Technical Education Council's national newspaper journalist of the year for 1994). Prior to the FT, he did freelance work for London's Daily Telegraph and Guardian, and also worked for Congressional Quarterly in Washington, DC. A keen classical singer, he has performed in Carnegie Hall and in concert halls across Europe, in the choirs for soloists including Cecilia Bartoli, Luciano Pavarotti, and Bryn Terfel. He is also an enthusiastic walker, who has climbed Kilimanjaro and reached the base camps of Everest, and of K2's Concordia glacier.Authers lives in Mexico City with his fiancee Sara Silver, also a Financial Times journalist. Richard Wolffe is U.S. diplomatic correspondent for the Financial Times and deputy bureau chief in Washington, D.C. Richard Wolffe is U.S. diplomatic correspondent for the Financial Times and deputy bureau chief in Washington, D.C. Over the last few years he has reported extensively on the presidential election, concentrating on the Bush campaign. Other stories he has covered in depth include the Microsoft antitrust trial and the campaign for Holocaust compensation.Richard joined the Financial Times in 1994. Before moving to DC, he worked as a national reporter in the UK covering a wide news beat, including the 1997 general election and IRA terrorist attacks on the mainland.A graduate from Oxford University, his career prior to the Financial Times included news reporting for London's Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph as well as regional news reporting in Brighton, Sussex.His freelance work includes CNN, the BBC and The New Republic. He has also appeared on The NewsHour on PBS, MSNBC and Fox News, as well as a series of international media including CBC and Deutsche Welle.Richard lives in Washington with his wife, Paula Cuello, and their young daughter, Ilana. Born in September 1968, he grew up in Birmingham, England.


Authers and Wolffe, journalists for the Financial Times, trace the efforts made from 1995 to date to win compensation for those who lost assets and endured forced labor at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators in WWII. They talk to the heads of Jewish organizations and senior American government officials, all of whom were fighting on behalf of the victims, as well as to the victims' lawyers. Using strategies such as threatened boycotts, calculated emotional outbursts, public pressure campaigns and class action suits, this group of Americans targeted European banks that had pocketed balances belonging to Holocaust victims, insurers who never paid out life insurance proceeds, and industrial concerns that benefited from forced (and even slave) labor during the war. Though impressive settlements have been negotiated, the story is a dispiriting one, regardless of how one feels about reparations: each new episode in the battle generated recriminations and bitterness among the plaintiffs, and distribution is the most contentious phase of all. Some of the lawyers are drawing multimillion-dollar fees while their clients receive amounts in the low thousands. Certain Jewish organizations that had led the compensation campaign are now fighting Holocaust survivors for control of the money. Authers and Wolffe's well-researched and nuanced book demonstrates how the struggle for reparations has simultaneously been a fight for justice and a vindictive squabble over money. (June 7) Forecast: Aside from this book's natural audience in the Jewish community, it should also be instructive to anyone interested in the hot question of reparations to African-American descendants of slaves. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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