Born in 1944 on the floor of a coal cellar in Poland where his Jewish parents hid from the Nazis, Andrew Hall was only three pounds when he was born. His family ultimately escaped to Krakow through the sewer system, and after a harrowing journey across multiple borders, made it to the United States. According to Hall, the only thing that kept his family alive was the acts of a heroic person willing to risk their own life to rescue another. It is with that knowledge and gratitude that Hall has never been able to walk away from a victim reaching out their hand in need. Today, Andrew C. Hall is a Miami attorney and a leading terrorism litigator who is internationally recognized for his work in defending victims of state-sponsored terror and lobbying Congress to expand the rights for victims to recover in federal court. Hall is credited with being the first attorney to ever win a case in U.S. court against a sovereign nation for its sponsorship of terrorism. Among the countries he has successfully sued include Iraq, Libya, and the Republic of Sudan. For Andy, as a Holocaust survivor and victim of terror himself, this is as much a personal plight as it is professional. Check out this article from the Florida Jewish Journal to learn more.
Holocaust surviving lawyer fights terror
by Sergio Carmona
Local lawyer Andrew Hall has spent almost two decades handling cases on behalf of victims of power and terror abuse. For Hall, the founder and managing partner of the Miami-based law firm, Hall, Lamb and Hall, P.A., these cases are reminiscent of one that he and his family dealt with when he was an infant-surviving the Holocaust. Born Andrczej Cheslav Horowitz in Sept. 16, 1944 to Jewish parents hiding from the Nazi occupiers of Warsaw, Poland, Hall has sued a number of state-sponsors of terrorism including Libya, Sudan, and Iraq since 1992. He says that his background as a Holocaust survivor influenced this fight on terror and has propelled him to continue this battle despite some difficulties.
“If I didn’t have that background, I think I might probably have given up after a year or two when it was hard and difficult to win because we had nothing but difficult results between 1992 and 1996 so I might’ve been discouraged, which I know I was, but in reality I probably would’ve just said ‘well it didn’t work out,’ and moved on,” he said.
In the 90s, Hall lobbied for the amendment to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act which now provides recourse for victims to sue countries listed by the State Department as sponsors of terrorism. In 2002, Hall lobbied Congress again for the passage of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, which eliminated the president’s veto power to block victims from collecting foreign assets.
Since 2003, he has fought in federal court to hold the Republic of Sudan accountable for its role in helping Al Qaeda carry out the USS Cole bombing on Oct.12, 2000 where 17 American sailors were killed and 39 were injured while the vessel was harbored and refueling in the Yemeni port of Aden. Earlier this year, Hall recovered more than $13,000,000 in frozen Sudanese assets against the Republic of Sudan for the families of the sailors who were killed and he continues to fight on appeal to get even more money to the victims’ families. So far this month, he has filed a few lawsuits on behalf of approximately 10 sailors who were injured.
The United States government has yet to prosecute those responsible for the attack and Hall believes it may never do so. When asked to compare his personal plight regarding the Holocaust to the USS Cole bombing, Hall replied, “The answer is that there is no equivalent to the Holocaust because that was the industrialized act of mass murder directed at a people only because they exist.” Hall continued, “We shouldn’t say terrorism is equal to the Holocaust, that would be wrong, but what it is essentially is that it’s the same mentality on a smaller basis and the truth of the matter is if you are a victim, it doesn’t matter whether it’s large or small, you’re still a victim and you’re a victim of people that have no respect for human life.”
For his efforts defending victims of terror, the American Jewish Committee honored him with the Judge Learned Hand Award a few years ago.
“Andy has dedicated his life to fight for justice and provide a voice to victims of terrorism who would otherwise be left unheard and just like the AJC, Andy tries to be at the forefront of efforts to pursue human rights and dignity,” said Brian Siegal, AJC’s Greater Miami and Broward Office’s director. “At AJC we are fortunate to have Andy’s leadership as a new AJC board member and I think our community is fortunate to have him advancing the interest of human rights.”