Instruction for Applications
- What will be restituted?
- Who may file an application?
- Until when may applications be filed?
- Which requirements must be fulfilled?
- Who will examine my application?
- How does the Arbitration Panel reach its decisions?
- What evidence do I have to submit?
- How do I file an application?
- What do heirs eligible to file an application have to do?
- Do I need to be represented by an attorney?
- May I also file an application with the Arbitration Panel for in rem restitution of property owned by provinces or municipalities?
1. What will be restituted?
Applications may be filed with the Arbitration Panel for in rem restitution of real estate (land) and buildings (suberstructures) which on 17 January 2001 were owned by the Federal Government and certain provinces and municipalities, or any legal person under public or private law wholly-owned, directly or indirectly, by the Federal Government. In addition, under the same requirements, Jewish communal organizations may file an application for in rem restitution of tangible movable property, particularly cultural and religious items.
2. Who may file an application?
Persons and associations who/which were persecuted by the National Socialist regime on political grounds, on grounds of origin, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, or of physical or mental handicap or of accusations of so-called asociality, or who left the country to escape such persecution, and who suffered losses or damages as a result of or in connection with events having occurred on the territory of the present-day Republic of Austria during the National Socialist era are eligible to file an application. In addition, heirs of such persons, in accordance with the provisions of the Austrian General Code of Civil Law (ABGB), are eligible to file an application. In case of a defunct association, an association which the Arbitration Panel regards as legal successor shall be entitled to file an application as well.
3. Until when may I file an application?
The last deadline for filing applications for the restitution of property ended on 31 December 2011!
4. Which requirements must be fulfilled?
The following requirements must be fulfilled for the in rem restitution of real estate or buildings (superstructures):
The property was taken between 12 March 1938 and 9 May 1945 from the previous owner whether without authorization or on the basis of laws or other orders, on political grounds, on grounds of origin, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, or of physical or mental handicap, or of accusations of so-called asociality, in connection with events having occurred on the territory of the present-day Republic of Austria during the National Socialist era.
The property has never been the subject of a claim that was previously decided or settled by agreement (e.g. by a court, an administrative body or by a settlement), and for which the claimant or a relative has never otherwise received compensation or other consideration. Excepted therefrom are only cases where
- 1. a prior decision or settlement constituted an extreme injustice, or
- 2. the claim was denied by an Austrian court or administrative body because of failure to produce required evidence, where such evidence was inaccessible to you at the time but has since become accessible.
5. Who will examine my application?
An independent Arbitration Panel consisting of three members has been established with the General Settlement Fund to examine applications concerning in rem restitution. The US and Austrian Government each appointed a member. The chairperson is appointed by the above two members. The Arbitration Panel is assisted in its examination work by a staff of historians and lawyers.
6. How does the Arbitration Panel reach its decisions?
After examination of your application, the Arbitration Panel will either recommend an in rem restitution to the competent Austrian Federal Minister, or dismiss the claim. The Arbitration Panel will make its recommendation on the basis of evidence submitted by you and submissions of the Austrian Government, as well as any relevant findings of the Austrian Historical Commission, which has carried out a research project related to this issue. If you assert that a property is publicly -owned, the Arbitration Panel will verify whether this is the case. Decisions of the Arbitration Panel will be published.
7. What evidence do I have to submit?
As a rule, you will have to submit supporting evidence and documents (e.g. birth or marriage certificates, last will and testaments, old passports, certificate of right of residence [Heimatschein], victim card [Opferausweis], contracts, land register records, property declaration, etc.) as well as other evidence (e.g. photographs, letters, affidavits, etc.) in order to prove the fulfilment of the requirements. If, however, no relevant evidence is available, you may also make your claim credible in some other way. Your application will be examined by the Arbitration Panel and its staff.
We would like to draw your attention to the fact that in a research project the Austrian Historical Commission has extensiveley checked the land register for real estate as defined above in paragraph 1. The Arbitration Panel has access to he results of this research.
8. How do I file an application?
In order to file an application, please fill in the application form as competently as possible to the best of your knowledge and send it to the GENERAL SETTLEMENT FUND, Parlament, Dr. Karl Renner Ring, A-1017 Wien.
9. What do heirs eligible to file an application have to do?
As an eligible heir you will have to submit all relevant personal documents or other relevant evidence (e.g. last will and testament), in order to provide conclusive proof of your relationship and your right ot inheritance.
10. Do I need to be represented by an attorney?
We expressly draw your attention to the fact that in order to file an application for in rem resitution with the Arbitration Panel you need not to be represented by an attorney. Filing of the application does not involve any expenses or other fees.
11. May I also file an application with the Arbitration Panel for in rem restitution of property owned by provinces or municipalities?
Applications may be filed with the Arbitration Panel for in rem restitution of property owned by provinces or municipalities provided that the respective body corporate has declared to accept the recommendation of the Arbitration Panel.
In case of any further questions conerning in rem restitution of property owned by other local communities, please contact the General Settlement Fund.