Generali insurance firm will open its WWII records

Generali, in a letter announcing its move, said it would grant "unlimited access to inspect and review World War II era policy records in our archives."

Washington state Insurance Commissioner Deborah Senn, whose office confirmed Generali's offer, said in a press release, "This is a huge first step for U.S. Holocaust survivors, who have been pursuing justice unsuccessfully for many years."

Quackenbush will head the team of investigators who will pore through the documents of the European insurance companies. He also wants to form an umbrella commission to oversee the recovery efforts. Currently, several states are individually probing the insurance issue, and a related class-action lawsuit has been filed.

Switzerland's Winterthur, another large insurance company that wrote policies for Jews during World War II, said it will also cooperate in the search for old policies.