Together with the Federation of Jewish Communities in Austria, the Claims Conference continues to press for the return of all Nazi-looted art objects to former owners or their heirs and for the sale of unclaimed objects for the benefit of victims of Nazi persecution in and from Austria.
In 1986, the Claims Conference met with Austrian Chancellor Fred Sinowatz to press for legislation to enable owners of or heirs to stolen art to claim items that had been stored by the Austrian government in Mauerbach, near Vienna, since the end of WWII. The Claims Conference also sought to ensure that unclaimed objects would be sold at auction to benefit needy victims of Nazism. The legislation was enacted later that year.
A decade later, in 1996, the Austrian government handed over the unclaimed objects to the Federation of Austrian Jewish Communities. Their sale at auction in October of that year brought in a total of $14.5 million and received international publicity.
The Mauerbach fund has made more than 6,800 payments to needy victims of Nazi persecution in and from Austria.
In addition, to date, hundreds of pieces of artwork found in museums have been returned to original owners or their legal heirs. This restitution is based on Austrian laws passed since 1997, calling for museum-wide investigations on the possible possession of Nazi-era looted art.
For information on the Mauerbach Hardship Fund:
Bundesverband der Israelitischen Kultusgemeinden Österreich
41010 Vienna, Austria
Tel: (43-1) 53104-0
Fax: (43-1) 533-1577
Residents of Israel:
Central Committee of Jews from Austria in Israel
PO Box 16457
Tel Aviv 61164, Israel
Tel: (972-3) 523-5853
Fax: (972-3) 524-3815
The information presented herein is intended for information purposes only and solely as a general guide. The information is not intended as legal advice. It is a summary of specific issues and does not represent a definitive or complete statement of the programs and policies of the agencies or governments mentioned. The information may not address the special needs, interests and circumstances of individual recipients. Individual situations differ and recipients are urged to seek individual advice. Individuals seeking specific information on a program are urged to contact the relevant program or to consult their social service agency or help center representative. To the best of our knowledge the information is correct as of the date of this document and this information may change subsequent to the said date. Updated January 2005