Mar 2002 Journal

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Central Office for Holocaust Claims

Austrian General Settlement Fund

In addition to the individual awards of $7,000 made to Holocaust victims who lived in Austria before the war, the General Settlement Fund (GSF) provides payments '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 bank accounts, stocks, bonds and mortgages, the GSF has been endowed with $210 million to recompense survivors as well as heirs for liquidated businesses, real property and unredeemed insurance policies. Compensation for personal valuables and household possessions was covered in the scheme introduced last year by the National Fund.

Under the rules of the GSF there will be two processes for claiming: claims-based and equity-based ones. 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.

Equity-based payments will be made in circumstances where claims cannot be verified under the claims-based procedure. As well as the above categories, claims can be filed for occupational and educational losses.

Claims must be submitted before 27 May 2003.

Claims can also be filed in respect of land and buildings which on 17 January 2001 were owned by the Federal Government or the City of Vienna.

All applicants to the Austrian National Fund will automatically receive further information on how to proceed with making a claim. 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.

Further help

Written enquiries should be sent to Central Office for Holocaust Claims (UK), 1 Hampstead Gate, 1a Frognal, London NW3 6AL. For assistance with the completion of application forms please telephone 020 7431 6161 for an appointment.
Michael Newman

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