ART RESTITUTION

The Art Restitution Law of 1998 provided the National Fund with a legal mandate to monetize “heirless” art and cultural objects from the museums and collections owned by the Republic of Austria and use the proceeds to benefit the victims of Nazism.

 In 2006 an art database was set up to help victims of Nazi art theft and their descendants conduct a targeted search for looted art. The database contains information on 9,400 objects held by twenty cooperating partners, including federal and provincial museums and universities.

 The National Fund also provides assistance to provenance researchers from museums and collections and helps them to trace legal successors and establish contacts with Austrian institutions.

If, despite intensive research, the rightful heirs to art and cultural objects cannot be found, the items are transferred to the National Fund to be monetized. Ten thousand books from the National Library and numerous art objects from various collections have been monetized in this way. The proceeds raised are used for programmes benefitting the victims of National Socialism.

Provenance researcher Dr. Michael Wladika (left) and municipal councillor Dr. Andreas Mailath-Pokorny present the restituted painting “The Love Letter” by Johann Nepomuk Schödlberger to Secretary General Hannah Lessing, who returned the picture to the heirs in person in Israel in 2009.

Top: Albin Egger-Lienz, Two Reapers (Three Mowers), Tyrolean State Museum Ferdinandeum, 1921/23

Bottom left: Didi Sattmann. Bottom right: Christa Knott/Vienna Museum for Folk Life and Folk Art, Joseph Krpelan/www.derknopfdrucker.com

Left: Sledge figurehead from the Vienna Museum for Folk Life and Folk Art in the art database (questionable status still to be clarified). Right: Signing an agreement with the University of Vienna, with which the University transferred “heirless” art objects and books to the National Fund in 2017 and repurchased them.

VICTIM RECOGNITION

The National Fund was established in 1995 at the Austrian Parliament to express Austria's special responsibility towards all victims of National Socialism. As such, it is aimed at all survivors, regardless of why they were persecuted – whether on political grounds, on...

PROJECT FUNDING

Project funding has been a central activity of the National Fund from the outset. It caters to all victim groups subjected to Nazi persecution. Emphasis is placed on social and medical projects for survivors.  Funding is also awarded to projects that undertake...

ART RESTITUTION

The Art Restitution Law of 1998 provided the National Fund with a legal mandate to monetize “heirless” art and cultural objects from the museums and collections owned by the Republic of Austria and use the proceeds to benefit the victims of Nazism.  In 2006 an art...

AUSTRIAN EXHIBITION AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU

A new Austrian exhibition is being created to go on display in Block 17 of the former concentration and extermination camp and present Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum.  The original exhibition, which was initiated and co-conceived by former inmates, opened in 1978. The...

THE RESTORATION OF JEWISH CEMETERIES FUND

The Washington Agreement also set out Austria’s international legal obligation to restore and maintain known and unknown Jewish cemeteries in Austria.  In December 2010 the enactment of the Federal Law on the Establishment of the Fund for the Restoration of the Jewish...

FINDBUCH FOR VICTIMS OF NATIONAL SOCIALISM

The Findbuch (“finding aid”) can be accessed at www.findbuch.at and enables users to search Austrian archives for material on Nazi property seizures and Austrian restitution and compensation measures. It currently contains approx. 212,000 records from the Austrian...

CLAIMS COMMITTEE COMPENSATION OF ASSETS

The General Settlement Fund for Victims of National Socialism was established in 2001 on the basis of the Washington Agreement. Its objective was to provide a comprehensive solution to open questions of compensation for losses and damages incurred by Nazi victims as a...

THE ARBITRATION PANEL FOR IN REM RESTITUTION

The Arbitration Panel for In Rem Restitution was established on the basis of the Washington Agreement of 2001 and could recommend the restitution of real estate, superstructures, and the moveable assets of Jewish communal organizations, if they had been seized between...

RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE ARBITRATION PANEL FOR IN REM RESTITUTION

In total, the Arbitration Panel granted 140 applications for in rem restitution. The overall value of the properties that the Arbitration Panel recommended for restitution is approx. 48 million euros. The above images of Vienna and Austria show the geographical...

HISTORICAL RESEARCH AT THE GENERAL SETTLEMENT FUND

The historical research carried out at the General Settlement Fund formed an indispensable basis for the legal processing of the applications. In order to ensure the equal treatment of all applicants, care was taken to ensure that the same, in part very extensive,...

DOCUMENTING LIFE STORIES

DOCUMENTING LIFE STORIESThe documentation and publication of life stories is of key importance to the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism. In view of the current change of generations it is crucial to document these biographical...

APPLICANTS

The applicants of the National Fund and the General Settlement Fund live or lived in over 80 countries around the world. The overwhelming majority of Austrians who fled persecution in Austria during the Nazi era did not return, but remained in their countries of...

COMPENSATION OF ASSETS

The Claims Committee of the General Settlement Fund could award compensation for individual losses and damage in ten different categories. This task was incomparably more complex than other national or international compensation measures, where claims could be filed...

THE PROCEEDINGS

The General Settlement Fund operated on the basis of the following principles: to treat equal things equally and unequal things unequally in a legal sense, to apply relaxed standards of proof, to maintain the transparency of all working processes and, not least, to...

PROCEDURAL STATISTICS

The General Settlement Fund received 20,702 applications for compensation of asset losses. They related to the asset losses incurred by 37,623 persons. Compensation was awarded for 18,155 applications; 2,547 applications did not meet the requirements for compensation....

WASHINGTON AGREEMENT 2001

On 17 January 2001 representatives of the Republic of Austria, the United States of America and Nazi victims’ organisations signed the “Joint Statement” in Washington DC. This formed the basis for the “Agreement between the Austrian Federal Government and the...