Closing payments from the General Settlement Fund
In July the General Settlement Fund for Victims of National Socialism (GSF) commenced the disbursement of the closing payments from the Fund along the lines of the final quotas agreed by the Fund’s Board of Trustees. The GSF was established as part of the Washington Agreement signed in January 2001.
As the GSF was capped at $210m, awards were made on a pro-rata basis and the final shares will be 10.56 percent of the determined losses in the claims-based process, 17.16 percent in the equity-based process and 20.74 percent for insurance policies.
To date the independent Claims Committee has decided 20,537 of the total of 20,700 applications, containing approximately 120,000 individual claims, and recognised property losses of over $1.5 billion.
Since 2005, the General Settlement Fund has paid $139 million to around 14,000 applicants and 4,000 heirs in the form of initial disbursements, so-called advance payments. Approximately 30 percent of all claims concerned occupational and educational losses, 20 percent liquidated businesses. The remaining 50 percent are related to the other categories of property – bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mortgages, moveable property, insurance policies, real estate, insofar as no in rem restitution has been granted pursuant to the GSF law, and other losses and damages.
In settling these claims, the in-house research team of the GSF obtained around 70,000 different documents from various Austrian archives.
Along with the compensation of so-called slave and forced labourers by the Reconciliation Fund, for whom a total of 436 million was made available, the Washington Agreement also constituted a package of restitution and compensation measures: The GSF provides, on the one hand, for monetary compensation of property losses and, on the other hand, for in rem restitution of seized properties which are publicly-owned today. Additionally, $150 million were resolved for the compensation of seized tenancy rights and disbursed by the National Fund and further social measures for victims of National Socialism were implemented.