Sep 2007 Journal

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Austrian Fund doubled

In recognition of our achievement in disbursing emergency funds to Austrian Holocaust survivors, the AJR has learned that we will shortly receive $1.2m (£600,000) for distribution to Austrian Nazi victims until July 2008.

Under the terms of the Austrian Holocaust Survivor Emergency Assistance Programme (AHSEAP), the AJR, together with other Jewish charities working with Holocaust survivors, has distributed $600,000 (£300,000) each year for the past three years.

The programme was established by the Austrian government in 2003 following negotiations with the Claims Conference. The funding, initially $10 million (£5 million) over three years, is for social and emergency purposes and short-term assistance for Austrian survivors around the world.

By doubling the UK allocation we are also committed to reaching out to Austrian survivors and refugees who have not previously received assistance from the programme. The funding is available to those who left Austria on or after 11 July 1936 and were victims of Nazi persecution. They, or their parents, must have been Austrian citizens or had ten years’ residence in Austria prior to their date of emigration.

Individual allocations from the programme can be used to pay for a number of services and appliances that help to maintain people in their own homes for as long as possible. Examples include homecare, wheelchairs, the installation and replacement of home appliances and aids for the housebound as well as dental care, hearing aids and the payment of emergency rent to prevent eviction. AHSEAP can also be used to help purchase an Austrian state pension.

The AHSEAP is separate from the Austrian General Settlement Fund (GSF), which was established to pay compensation for a range of assets owned by Austrian Jews before the Anschluss. The National Fund, which is responsible for administering the GSF, has received some 200,000 individual claims from 20,000 claimants, including around 3,000 in this country.

Because the Fund is capped at $210m, claimants will receive only a pro rata share of the actual value of lost possessions. Depending on the type of claim entered, successful applicants will typically receive around 15 per cent of the value stated in their decision letter. Applicants can find out how their claim is progressing by calling the National Fund on 0043 1 408 1263.
Daniella Lewis and Michael Newman

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