A German insurance firm that once had ties to the Third Reich will not have its name emblazoned on the stadium being built for the New York Jets and Giants at the Meadowlands in E. Rutherford, N.J., after all.
Negotiations for a naming-rights deal for Allianz were canceled in the wake of harsh criticism from Jewish groups and other organizations that opposed naming the stadium after a company that once insured Auschwitz and other death camps.
Allianz refused to pay life insurance claims from its Jewish clients and instead diverted proceeds to the Nazis.
The deal could have been worth as much as $30 million per year.
Company and team officials were apparently taken off guard at the depth of opposition to the deal under negotiation, according to the New York Times, which cited a Daily News editorial cartoon depicting a football stadium with a swastika on it.
Allianz officials argued the firm had atoned for its former dealings with the Third Reich by supporting reparations programs and working to become a responsible company.
Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League that criticized the proposed naming of the stadium, applauded the cancellation of talks.
“The decision shows sensitivity to the fact that the greater New York area is home to a large number of Holocaust survivors and their families and World War II veterans, who live with the painful memories of that time,” he said in a statement.
“Allianz has gone a long way to atone, and one can forgive, but one cannot forget,” Foxman told the Times.
The Meadowlands Stadium, which will be shared by both New York NFL teams, is expected to be completed in time for the 2010 football season.