Jan 2004 Journal

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Austrian compensation fund eligibility extended

Eligibility for payments from the Austrian Reconciliation Fund, established in November 2000 and endowed with €436 million (£300 million), has been extended to include Holocaust survivors who were forced to watch their close relatives scrubbing the streets as a measure of Nazi persecution in Vienna and other Austrian cities.

The Fund's remit is to 'make voluntary payments to former slave and forced labourers of the National Socialist regime on the territory of present-day Austria.' At the outset, its administrators estimated they would make payments to 150,000 Holocaust survivors worldwide. The Fund has already disbursed €284 million (some £198 million) to more than 109,000 Nazi victims. A total of 603 survivors living in Britain have shared almost €1.3million (around £900,000) in awards.

Applications to the Fund are divided into three categories: forced labour in agriculture and forestry or in the form of personal services (households, hotels, etc.); forced labour in industry, business and construction including the railroads or postal services; and slave labour, work under inhumane conditions while under detention in a concentration camp-like place of confinement.

Completed applications to the Reconciliation Fund must be made by
31 December 2003, although a letter stating an interest to submit a claim received by this date will be accepted as a registered application. (Survivors who have received payments from the German Slave and Forced Labour Compensation Programme - the Foundation: Remembrance, Responsibility and the Future - are not eligible to apply.)

For application forms, explanatory leaflets and further information, please contact P.O. Box 44, A-1011 Vienna. Their telephone number is 0043 1 513 60 16 and their fax number is 0043 1 513 60 16 15. Details of how to apply are also available on the Fund's website: www.reconciliationfund.at.
Michael Newman

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