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Headquarters of Simon Löwy & Söhne (garment manufacturers), Vienna, 1938

Background

The systematic withdrawal of assets was part of the National Socialist persecution and destruction policy in Austria from 1938 to 1945.

The confiscation of property, performed with organized bureaucracy and on the basis of discriminatory laws, affected /first and foremost persons who were held to be Jewish by the NS regime. The successive "looting" began in 1938 when the state required these persons to file property declarations, and it continued by forcing them to sell their property ("aryanization"). After they were deported to concentration camps, the property was often forfeited to the NS regime.

Other victims of persecution also suffered material losses - either through confiscations or a ban on the exercise of their occupations/proefessions. It is the task of the General Settlement Fund to acknowledge the moral responsibility for the property losses that the victims of the NS regime in Austria suffered in the period from 1938 to 1945 by awarding voluntary benefits. Losses that were the subject of prior restitution or compensation measures cannot be claimed anymore with the Settlement Fund.

Under the Washington Agreement of 17 January 2001 it was decided that the Republic of Austria would set up the General Settlement Fund for Victims of National Socialism, and it was agreed to allocate USD 210 million to the Fund. The respective federal law went into force on 28 May 2001. By 28 May 2003, which was the deadline date for applications, the Settlement Fund had received more than 20,000 applications. After the last class action in the USA was dismissed, and the Austrian Federal Government announced on 13 December 2005 that legal peace had been obtained, the General Settlement Fund began making first advance payments.

Since 11 January 2006 the amount of USD 210 million has been at the disposal of the Settlement Fund, of which an amount of USD 25 million has been earmarked for insurance losses.


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Provenance Research at the Austrian Parliament

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