Hardly a day goes by where Renee Firestone isn't asked by some school, museum, reporter or filmmaker to talk about the Holocaust. "Somebody has to tell the story," she said. "I am fortunate enough, at my age, to still be able to walk and talk. So I have to do it." Firestone is 88, with pale blue eyes and a warm, Cheshire cat smile. She manages a 24-unit apartment building in Beverly Hills, where she lives with her daughter, Klaire.
The largest Holocaust-era German insurance company has not paid a single claim to survivors. Meanwhile, the international commission created to resolve Holocaust claims disputes has spent $30 million on administrative costs, compared to $3 million distributed to elderly survivors. From my own experience, these were predictable scandals. It is not too late to reverse them. In any event, the story should be told.
In two days of hearings (Dec. 1 & 2) on Holocaust-era insurance policies, California's insurance commissioner threatened to penalize a German and an Italian insurer for non-cooperation, while reaching agreements with three Dutch companies.