In March 1938, approximately 182,000 Jews lived in Austria. By May 1945, the Nazis had murdered more than one-third of them (65,000), while the remainder had to flee, leaving their belongings behind. Approximately 10,000 Austrian Jewish survivors are alive today, with 450 currently living in Austria.
The Claims Conference has been negotiating with Austrian government and industry since 1953 for compensation and restitution for Austrian Jewish victims of Nazism. Although a series of small measures were enacted over the decades, Austria continued to regard itself as the first victim of Nazism, rather than acknowledging that a majority of Austrians welcomed and collaborated with the Third Reich. Through negotiations that culminated in a $500 million agreement in 2001, Austria acknowledged its historical responsibility to the country’s Jewish victims of Nazism with property and asset restitution measures, compensation payments, and pension and nursing care provisions.
Through the Claims Conference office in Vienna, negotiations continue with the government to extend or expand existing programs benefiting Austrian Holocaust victims living worldwide.
Direct compensation payments are made in Austria from the Article 2 Fund, the Hardship Fund and the Child Survivor Fund.
Austrian Holocaust victims living around the world today also receive restitution, compensation, government pension payments and social services from a number of programs established through decades of government negotiations with the Claims Conference.