RECOGNISING ALL VICTIMS OF NATIONAL SOCIALISM IN AUSTRIA

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 grounds of origin, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, a physical or mental disability, due to accusations of “asociality”, or because they were victims of typical Nazi injustice in some other form.

Some 30,000 survivors have approached the National Fund and received a gesture payment as a symbol of recognition – 157 million euros in total. In addition to this, from 2001 onwards compensation totalling approx. 175 million euros was paid to survivors for the loss of rented apartments.

The National Fund continues to provide support for survivors in need of special assistance: in cases of financial hardship, the gesture payment can be made up to a total of three times.

Preserving the memory of the victims and their fates is a central task for the future. The National Fund keeps records of this knowledge in its archives and passes it on to future generations.

The National Fund works together with national and international organisations and remembrance and research institutions, in a combined effort to promote “learning from history” beyond Austria too.

The archives of the National Fund and General Settlement Fund are unique. They document persecution and the bureaucracy of confiscation and seizure, as well as earlier compensation and restitution measures put in place after 1945. The applicants’ personal documents provide a compelling impression of the events and their significance for the people affected and for Austria.
Clockwise from top left: The Secretary General of the National Fund Hannah Lessing at the Austrian Embassy in Washington DC in 2010; at the ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the National Fund at the Parliament in 2015; at the wreath-laying ceremony in Yad Vashem, Jerusalem in 2011; and in 2016 with students of the High School BG/BRG Baden at the Democracy Workshop.

© top : Parlamentsdirektion Christian Hikade. below left : Georg Schenk. below right : Karl Schrammel, Parlamentsdirektion/Thomas Jantzen/Johannes Zinner, Yad Vashem/Yitzhak Harari 

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...