BOCA RATON, Fla. – A congresswoman from South Florida praised the decision to end a German insurance company's sponsorship of a Boca Raton golf tournament.
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, said the termination of Allianz's sponsorship of the annual PGA Tour Champions event in Boca Raton "is welcome but long overdue news."
"For the past seven years, I have echoed the concerns of Holocaust survivors who have rightly protested against this sponsorship," Ros-Lehtinen said Monday in a statement.
Holocaust survivors believe the end of Allianz's sponsorship might boost their efforts to collect about $2.5 billion in World War II-era Jewish policies.
Allianz had been the tournament's sponsor for seven years, sparking protests by Jewish groups each time.
The Munich-based insurance company has acknowledged collaborating with the Nazi regime in the 1930s and 1940s. Holocaust survivors claim the company sold tens of thousands of policies to Nazi victims and has refused to honor them.
"Allianz has a despicable record of its treatment of Holocaust survivors, having sold tens of thousands of insurance policies to Jewish families before WWII, only to reject those claims using cruel tactics and demanding death certificates and policy documents they knew could not be provided," Ros-Lehtinen said.
Legislation in Congress would allow the survivors access to U.S. courts in an effort to force Allianz to pay. They are currently blocked by an international agreement.
Ros-Lehtinen said she reintroduced the bipartisan Holocaust Insurance Accountability Act to help Holocaust survivors and their families.
"Today will mark the beginning of a renewed effort for all of the next steps the survivors need," Ros-Lehtinen said. "We can no longer sit idly by and allow these survivors to continue to be victimized and denied their day in court."
The tournament will continue to be held at the Old Course at Broken Sound Club. It is currently called the Boca Raton Regional Hospital Championship.