During the NS regime in Austria between 1938 and 1945 thousands of people became victims of its violent persecution and anihilation policy.
Those 200,000 persons who were considered to be Jews according to the racist NS laws were persecuted, expatriated and murdered. However, the persecution measures of the regime also affected others. With the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism, NS victims were considered for the first time who previously had not received any or only inadequate recognition by the Republic. This also includes the "Spiegelgrund children", homosexuals, victims of NS military justice and members of the Roma and Sinti.
The National Fund was set up in 1995 as a gesture of the moral co-responsibility for the consequences of the NS regime in Austria. The National Fund Law applies basically to all survivors of National Socialist violence, who are awarded a symbolic payment of EUR 5,087.10 (ATS 70,000). However, the tasks of the National Fund go far beyond being merely a disbursing office. It also supports needy Holocaust survivors throughout the world, takes care of looted art works "without heirs", and helps to create awareness for the NS period and its consequences, for example by supporting projects.
The special responsibility of Austria vis-à-vis the victims of the NS regime is also reflected by the fact that the National Fund is administered by the Parliamentary Directorate. The President of the National Council heads the Board of Curators and the Committee, which are the governing bodies of the National Fund. Since 1995 Hannah M. Lessing has been the Secretary General of the National Fund.