Fund will pay certain heirs to Jewish-owned properties in former East Germany recovered by Claims Conference
February 19, nurse 2013 — The Claims Conference has established a Late Applicants Fund (“LAF”) of €50 million to accept applications from certain heirs of former Jewish owners of properties and assets located in the former East Germany for which the Claims Conference received proceeds as Successor Organization under the German Property Law of 1990.
The Claims Conference has published on its website, www.claimscon.org, a list of the properties/assets received by the Claims Conference as of the date of publication, and such assets for which claims by the Claims Conference are still pending under the German Property Restitution Law, including the name of the former owners and/or businesses, as well as the addresses of the properties/assets.
The detailed rules of the LAF, applications, and other information are also on the Claims Conference website, www.claimscon.org. Applications will be accepted through December 31, 2014, a total of two years.
In 1990, the new democratic government of East Germany introduced legislation to restitute property that had been nationalized by the former East German Communist regime. Even before the reunification of East and West Germany was finalized, the Claims Conference was able to negotiate that this legislation included the restitution of formerly Jewish-owned property lost in the Holocaust.
As a result, original Jewish owners and heirs gained the right to file claims for property in the former East Germany. The German government imposed application deadlines of Dec. 31, 1992 for real estate claims and June 30, 1993 for movable property claims. Tens of thousands of owners and heirs filed claims and recovered assets under the legislation that resulted from these negotiations carried out by the Claims Conference.
The Claims Conference also negotiated to become the legal successor to individual Jewish property and property of dissolved Jewish communities and organizations in the former East Germany that went unclaimed after Dec. 31, 1992. Had the Claims Conference not taken this step, formerly Jewish-owned assets that remained unclaimed after the German-imposed filing deadline would have remained with the owners at the time or reverted to the German government.
The resulting Successor Organization of the Claims Conference sells recovered property or receives compensation and has been responsible for more than $1 billion in grants, primarily to social welfare agencies around the world that assist the neediest and most vulnerable Jewish victims of Nazi persecution. These grants provide the major funds to help provide a social safety net for Nazi victims around the world, providing homecare, food, and medicine for Holocaust survivors.
The Claims Conference established the Goodwill Fund in 1994 in order to enable former Jewish owners and their heirs to receive a payment even after the German deadlines of 1992/1993. Through the Goodwill Fund, certain former owners and heirs could apply for the proceeds of properties or compensation payments that the German restitution authorities had awarded to the Claims Conference. After several extensions (see attached), the Goodwill Fund’s final application deadline was March 30, 2004, with amendments made in 2009 and 2010 for certain heirs. With the time for the original filing period and the Claims Conference Goodwill Fund, original owners of and heirs to property in the former East Germany have had the longest filing period of any Holocaust restitution program of any asset (immovable property, insurance, bank accounts, etc.). This final Late Applicants Fund adds an additional two years.
The Claims Conference commitment to assisting close relatives who missed the deadline is borne out by the fact that it had, as of December 31, 2011, paid approximately €637 million under the Goodwill Fund to original owners or their heirs. The Claims Conference had also set aside approximately €47 million (approximately $60 million) for future payments from the Goodwill Fund, and a further €16 million (approximately $21 million) has been designated for Goodwill Fund and Other Uses.
With the recovery of properties coming to a close, the Claims Conference needs certain knowledge of the Successor Organization funds available to it for future support of homecare, medical care, food and other assistance to Holocaust victims. The establishment of the LAF, the final fund from which payments will be made to heirs, will enable the Claims Conference to ascertain with certainty the availability of Successor Organization funds for these services.
LAF applications can be filed directly with the Claims Conference for no fee. There is no need for applicants to pay a fee to any party.
The LAF will be open for a period of two years commencing on January 1, 2013 (“Filing Period”). Upon the expiration of the Filing Period, the Claims Conference shall determine the payments that eligible heirs will receive. This determination will be based on a number of factors detailed on the Claims Conference website.
It is not known when payments will be able to be made to eligible applicants.
All communications regarding the Late Applicants Fund should be submitted to:
Claims Conference Successor Organization
D-60487 Frankfurt am Main, Germany