In 2000, the Claims Conference intensified its property negotiations with Austria, contending that over the last 50 years Austria had not adequately addressed the major material losses of its Jewish population during the Holocaust. Not only was the First Republic unable to protect a part of its citizens from traumatic deportation and annihilation - some of which was perpetrated by other Austrian citizens - but the postwar Second Republic had not acted responsibly enough to remedy the material wrongs which were committed.
One major deficiency of previous restitution efforts was the laws’ provision that only "aryanized" property was eligible for restitution. Thus, property that was "liquidated," transformed into a new establishment, or currently in possession of a new owner who did not know its origins, could not be reclaimed. The historians established that only a small percentage of the value of pre-1938 Austrian Jewish property was ever returned.
Through talks mediated by the U.S. and headed by Deputy Treasury Secretary Stuart Eizenstat, the Claims Conference and representatives of former and current Austrian Jews reached an agreement with the Austrian government in January 2001 for a settlement valued at $480 million, including supplemental National Fund payments and social welfare benefits.
The agreement included $210 million for lost property claims through a General Settlement Fund. All Austrian Jewish Holocaust survivors, Jews residing in Austria prior to the Anschluss, and heirs of Austrian Jewish victims of Nazism, may file claims for lost, looted or "Aryanized" property.
1. Claims-based compensation: Detailed claims may be submitted with appropriate evidence to support loss of property in the following categories:
Loss of education or jobs may also be claimed.
2. "Equity-based" Compensation for Aryanized Property for Survivors & Heirs
Claims will be assessed on the basis of a more relaxed standard of proof than for the claims-based fund. In addition, occupational and educational losses and "other claims" can be made. There will be a standard payment per household for each category.
The deadline for claims was May 28, 2003.
NOTE: For both types of compensation, those claims for property loss already settled under previous Austrian court decisions, by administrative authorities or by agreement were excluded, except in cases of extraordinary injustice.
Applications were available for download from the Web site: www.nationalfonds.org and must have reached the settlement fund by May 28, 2003, but pertinent documents may be sent later. Each applicant was required to sign the form on page 4 and check at least one of the seven categories. For each category, the applicant must also indicate which process is chosen (claim or equity).
A list of Austrian archives can be obtained on the fund’s Web site (by clicking "Research" on the menu) or by contacting the fund in writing. The Property Records of Jewish Austrians as of April 27,1938 (Vermoegensanmeldungen) give an overview of the assets that Jews had to declare (by category) and are still on file in various Austrian archives. A useful search engine on the internet is available through the Information Center for Holocaust Survivors in Israel. To access the Austrian lists, go to:www.claimsinfo.org/searchdb.asp
General Settlement Fund- Austrian Federal Government
Allgemeiner Entshaedigungsfonds fuer Opfer des Nationalsozialismus
General Settlement Fund
Parliament, A-1017, Vienna, Austria
U.S. residents may contact the Austrian Consulate in New York or the Austrian Embassy in Washington. In addition, ACOA (American Council for Equal Compensation of Nazi Victims from Austria, Inc.), a member of the International Steering Committee and the Claims Conference Negotiating Committee on Austria, monitors new developments and analyzes guidelines for the benefit of survivors from Austria.
Austrian Consulate General
31 East 69th Street
New York, New York 10021
Tel.: (212) 737-6400
P.O. Box 640370
Oakland Gardens, New York 11364
3524 International Court NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel.: (202) 895-6719
Attention: Mrs. Ingrid Richardson McKenna, Legal Dept.
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