This section of the site deals with the efforts made banks to both return to their rightful owners the bank accounts belonging to Holocaust victims and to investigate their role in the financing of the Holocaust.
General Settlement Fund (GSF)
The General Settlement Fund (GSF) was established as part of the Washington Agreement in January 2001 ‘to acknowledge the moral responsibility for losses and damages inflicted…and to settle comprehensively unanswered questions of restitution and compensation’.
As well as compensation for, stocks, bonds and mortgages, the GSF was been with $210 million to recompense survivors as well as heirs for liquidated businesses, real property and unredeemed insurance policies. Also included in the settlement is compensation for dormant bank accounts.
Under the rules of the GSF, the deadline for which expired on 27 May 2003, there were two processes for claiming: claims-based and equity-based. A Claims Committee will investigate each application under relaxed standards of proof and an award will be made on a pro-rata basis once all applications have been submitted. In all cases, compensation will not exceed $2 million per individual.
The GSF is administered by the National Fund, which can be contacted by writing to The Parliament, 1017 Vienna, Austria, by telephone on 0043 1 408 12 63/4, or by visiting the National Fund website at www.nationalfonds.org
More information about the GSF is available in International claims or by clicking here
Until 31 December 2004 Austrian Holocaust survivors – and their heirs – were entitled to submit claims for the restitution of accounts held at the Erste Bank der oesterreichischen Sparkassen AG, a predecessor of Erste Bank.
To assist potential claimants, the Erste Bank produced two tables of names – that appear below – of Holocaust victims who invested money in the bank prior to the Anschluss in March 1938. Table A lists dormant accounts and includes the name and date of birth of the owner as well as the balance, adjusted to today’s vlaues using an annual interest rate of 4.5%. Where the balance is still modest, Erste Bank has pledged to make awards of a minimum of €200.
Table B records the names and dates of births of those persecutees whose real estate was aryanised by Erste Bank as well as the details of people who held mortgages or other loans. A Nazi racial law required Erste Bank to extend loans to Jews, which could then be used only to pay the punitive ‘Jew taxes’, Reichsfluchtsteuer and Judenvermogensabgabe.
Applications had to be returned to: Erste Bank der Oesterreichischen Sparkassen AG, Code, “2004-Historikerprojekt”, Graben 21, A-1010 Wien, Austria.
The table of names can be viewed by clicking here (1.43MB Adobe PDF)
Commission for the Compensation of Victims of Spoliation (CIVS)
The Commission for the Compensation of Victims of Spoliation (CIVS) pays compensation for dormant French bank accounts from two funds. Bank Fund A has been endowed with $50m and makes awards in respect of accounts found in archival research.
One-time $3,000 awards were paid from Fund B endowed with $22.5m pays for accounts that were active prior to 1941 but where such evidence cannot be found. However, the deadline for Fund B claims expired in January 2003.
The CIVS can be contacted at:
1 Rue de la Manutention
Tel: 0033 1 56 52 85 00
Barclays and J P Morgan
With a deadline for applications running to 30 September 2002, Barclays and J P Morgan set up a fund to pay compensation for their role in operating with the Vichy and occupational authorities to plunder systematically the bank accounts, safe deposit boxes and other valuables of their Jewish clients both before, and in accordance with, anti-Semitic laws passed in France during WWII.
The banks created Settlement Funds totaling US$ 6,362,500, with more than half contributed by Barclays. Separate funds were established to pay administrative and legal costs.
Under the terms of the settlement, it was also possible to enter claims in respect of assets held with the predecessors of Barclays and J P Morgan, including Rothschild Frères, Morgan et Cie and some branches of Lloyds Bank.
Submission of claims was not dependent on documentary proof. Claims were valued by converting to US$ the balance as at 1940 and then calculating its equivalent as at 1999 - for Barclays claimants - and as at 2000 for J P Morgan claimants.
The final report into the investigations of the Holocaust era assets withheld by Israeli banks is available for inspection at:
Under the terms of the $1.25 billion Holocaust Victim Asset Litigation (Swiss Banks Settlement), signed in August 1998, and in accordance with the Distribution Plan of September 2000, $800m was set aside to pay compensation in respect of dormant Swiss bank accounts.
With information provided by the Swiss banking authorities, in February 2001, the Claims Resolution Tribunal (CRT), the administration responsible for processing claims for dormant accounts, published the names of the owners of approximately 21,000 accounts that probably or possibly belonged to victims of Nazi persecution. In January 2005, again with details prepared by Swiss banks, the CRT published an additional approximately 2,700 names of Account Owners and approximately 400 additional names of Power of Attorney holders of accounts probably or possibly belonging to Victims of Nazi Persecution.
While the official deadline has passed, late applications submitted to the CRT are now being ‘held, but not treated’.
To date the CRT has made 2,919 awards for 4,632 dormant accounts dispersing a total of approximately $502 million. Together with awards made from the original list of dormant accounts and successful claims for "Plausible Undocumented Accounts" (PUAs) and the Presumptive Value increases, the grand total authorised by the Court for bank account claims now stands at approximately $709 million.
Additionally, the CRT makes awards of $5,000 for ‘plausible but undocumented bank accounts’. To date, 12,567 PUAs have been authorized; thereafter, 284 deductions were made after the claimants subsequently were awarded payments for documented accounts located in Zurich; thus, a total of approximately $61.5 million for PUAs have been awarded and a total of approximately $89 million authorized (taking into account the Court's 16 June 2010 order, authorizing additional payments of $2,250 each).
Further information about the Swiss Banks Settlement is available at www.swissbankclaims.com and www.crt-ii.org
Although officially expired, applications for assets, including bank accounts, seized by the British government under Trading with the Enemy Legislation can still be filed at the Department of Trade and Industry in London.
In 1939 the British government introduced the Trading with the Enemy Act to prevent Germany and its axis allies using money in British banks to fund their war effort.
The Enemy Property Claims Assessment Panel (EPCAP) wound up its work at the end of August 2004 having examined 1,121 applications and distributed more than £16m to 377 claimants over a six-year period.
Further information and a database of 30,000 names is posted at www.enemyproperty.gov.uk
Written applications should be addressed to Enemy Property, Department of Trade and Industry, 10 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET. The telephone number is 020 7215 3485.