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Title: Nothing is Too Late; The Hunt for a Holocaust Swindler

Title: Nothing is Too Late; The Hunt for a Holocaust Swindler

 

Take a really good look at the photo accompanying this week’s book review. Do you
recognize this person? Lucian Kozminski may be one of the most despicable swindlers in recent history. Kozminski’s death was officially recorded in 1993 – the real story, however, as recorded by Mark Kalmansohn, is that Kozminski may still be around today.

Mark Kalmansohn is an attorney who has worked for the government as well as in his own
private practice. Although he has seen hundreds of cases, he has found no defendant in any of his criminal or civil cases prove as despicable as Kozminski – a man who succeeded in extracting millions of dollars – blood money – from hundreds of Jewish Holocaust survivors.

When the West German government among others, announced reparation programs, many
survivors were incapable – both intellectually as well as psychologically – of preparing their own applications and follow-through, and depended on the various private services and organizations that offered assistance.

Nature abhors a vacuum – and Mr. Kozminski, who was himself a camp survivor – saw an opportunity. He advertised widely in Jewish publications that he would assist survivors in obtaining their funds – and found many willing takers. Kozminski, acting as a legal representative on behalf of the survivors, collected directly from the West German government.

By the time Kalmansohn’s associate – Assistant U.S. Attorney Suzanne Conlon – handed over the case, the defrauding of Holocaust victims, in 1980, hundreds of Holocaust survivors had been victimized by Kozminski, who either paid them not a penny of their Wiedergutmachung (literally – payments making whole) or some tiny fraction of it.

With the clock ticking on whether his “clients” – the survivors who had been defrauded –  would ever see the money while they were still alive, Kalmansohn first made a quite elaborate case for Kozminski’s indictment by a Federal grand jury; then his guilty plea, which led him to jail for twelve years.

During the early period of Kozminski’s incarceration, Kalmansohn, now in private practice and no longer employed by the government, took on the civil action of tracing the absconded funds now in Swiss banks.

About four years into his sentence, Kalmansohn saw Kozminski on the street near his Beverly Hills, California office. Upon investigation it turned out that a false death certificate was filed
in Kozminski’s name.

Ever since, Kalmansohn has been on a quest to see justice done to the hundreds of defrauded
survivors who have never seen a penny of their reparations, and has labored without a fee for
these last twenty-four years to bring this perpetrator, or his heirs, to justice.

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