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April 22, 2008
Further to a statement issued by the Claims Conference on April 22, 2008, the following is a list of assets recovered from 1993 through April 30, 2008 by the Claims Conference Successor Organization for which it has received funds. This list was prepared and is published in response to requests for general information regarding the recoveries of the Successor Organization. Since the commencement of these activities in 1993, the audited Financial Statements of the Claims Conference have included audited figures for these amounts (see below).
Each entry in the following 193-page list represents years of legal struggle by the Claims Conference to recover formerly Jewish properties lost in the Holocaust.
The list includes proceeds arising from the sales of restituted assets, settlements, compensation paid by the authorities for assets that could not be restituted, and bulk settlements, and covers both private and communal property.
In 1990, the new government of a reunified Germany passed legislation to restitute property that had been nationalized by the former East German Communist regime. The Claims Conference negotiated intensely to include in this legislation the restitution of Jewish property that was either sold after 1933 under duress or confiscated by the Nazis.
As a result, original Jewish owners and heirs gained the right to file claims for property in the former East Germany. The German government imposed an application deadline, which, under pressure from the Claims Conference, was extended to Dec. 31, 1992 for real estate claims, and June 30, 1993 for claims for movable property. This deadline was publicized by the German government.
The Claims Conference also negotiated to become the legal successor to individual Jewish property and property of dissolved Jewish communities and organizations that went unclaimed after Dec. 31, 1992. Before the deadline, the Claims Conference also conducted a massive research effort to identify all possible Jewish properties.
Had the Claims Conference not taken these steps, Jewish assets that remained unclaimed after the filing deadline would have remained with the owners at the time (including in many cases the original “aryanizers”) or reverted to the German government.
The Claims Conference, therefore, is the legal successor to unclaimed Jewish assets in the former East Germany. If the Claims Conference successfully files a claim to an asset and no Jewish heir did so, it is entitled to recover such an asset. From the proceeds of these assets, the Claims Conference has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars to organizations and institutions that assist the neediest and most vulnerable Jewish victims of Nazi persecution, with a smaller amount funding those that engage in Shoah education, documentation, and research.
In 1994, the Claims Conference established a Goodwill Fund to make payments to certain property owners or heirs who did not file claims by the German government deadline of 1992, but who filed applications with the Claims Conference by March 31, 2004.
In September 2003, the Claims Conference published a list, to the extent available, of names of original owners of assets that were located in the former East Germany recovered by the Claims Conference or which related to such assets for which claims by the Claims Conference were still pending under the German Property Restitution Law. A total of 59,198 names were published on the internet. When it published this list, the Claims Conference announced in a follow up major advertising and media campaign in 100 Jewish newspapers across the world that the final deadline for applications to the Goodwill Fund was March 31, 2004. The Claims Conference Board of Directors based its decision on the fact that the Goodwill Fund had been accepting applications for 10 years, and without a deadline it would be necessary to stop allocations from the proceeds of these assets for homecare and other social services for needy Jewish victims of Nazi persecution. The fund is no longer receiving applications. Details regarding the Goodwill Fund can be found at the Goodwill Fund website.
This list of recovered assets includes a large number of cases where the proceeds have been or will be paid to heirs under the Goodwill Fund that was established in 1994.
To date, approximately €704 million or 34 percent of the income of the Successor Organization has been paid or set aside for payments to Goodwill Fund applicants/heirs.
Additionally, as mentioned above, the amounts listed in the following list have been reflected in the Claims Conference audited Financial Statements since the beginning of these activities in 1993. Summary reports and the complete audited financial statements can be found at www.claimscon.org/financials.
The proceeds recovered by the Successor Organization that are not designated for heirs to properties are used to fund organizations and institutions that provide vital social services to needy Jewish victims of Nazi persecution in 50 countries, and that engage in Shoah education, documentation, and research. Details, including a list of grants, can be found at the Allocations website.