Holocaust-Era Assets: A Guide for Filing Claims and a List of Compensation Programs

Order Code RL30396 CRS Report for Congress Received through the CRS Web Holocaust-Era Assets: A Guide for Filing Claims and a List of Compensation Programs Updated August 15, 2000 Barbara ASalazar Information Research Specialist Information Research Division Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress Holocaust-Era Assets: A Guide for Filing Claims and a List of Compensation Programs Summary This report provides the addresses, fax, and telephone numbers (including e-mail and Internet sites when available) of the major private and governmental organizations that are currently assisting with claims, compensation, and restitution of Holocaust-era assets (artworks, bank accounts, insurance claims, property, etc.). Included is information on the recently established German compensation fund for forced and slave laborers. These sources should be contacted directly for copies of claims forms and additional information. Related reports on this topic include the following: CRS Report 98-699, Holocaust Survivor and Heir Lawsuits to Recover Swiss Bank Deposits; CRS Report RL30381, Holocaust-Era Insurance Claims: Background and Issues; CRS Report RL30262, The Holocaust–Recovery of Assets from World War II: A Chronology (May 1995 to Present). Contents Organizations Assisting with Holocaust-Era Claims . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 List of Tables Table 1. Compensation and Restitution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Holocaust-Era Assets: A Guide for Filing Claims and a List of Compensation Programs This report is a guide for Holocaust survivors, their heirs, and other claimants in the United States who are interested in obtaining the necessary forms for filing claims for assets lost or stolen during the Second World War. Directly below is a table listing the various organizations and their compensation and/or restitution programs. An alphabetical listing follows this table. Listed are the various private and governmental organizations assisting with Holocaust-era claims for stolen or looted assets such as works of art; dormant bank accounts in Swiss and other European banks; unpaid insurance claims by European insurance companies; property restitution in the United Kingdom and in Eastern Europe; and compensation for forced/slave labor in Nazi-run industries. In addition, governments such as Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and other nations have established national funds or restitution programs that are listed below. Table 1. Compensation and Restitution General— Hardship or National Funds Art Works Bank Accounts Insurance Labor— Forced and Slave Property and Real Estate American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Art Loss Register Austrian Bank Allianz Claims Insurance Group Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld, and Toll American Jewish Committee Research Austrian National Fund Commission for Art Recovery Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld, and Toll Assicurazioni Generali German Foundation Initiative (a.k.a.. the German Remembrance Fund) Enemy Property Scheme for the United Kingdom Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, a.k.a. “Claims Conference” Holocaust Art Restitution Project Holocaust Claims Processing Office, New York State Banking Department California Holocaust Insurance Settlement Alliance Polish American Congress United Restitution Organization CRS-2 General— Hardship or National Funds Art Works Bank Accounts Insurance Labor— Forced and Slave Property and Real Estate Claims Conference Article 2 Fund The Netherlands The Netherlands Florida Department of Insurance Siemens AG -- Claims Conference Hardship Fund Polish American Congress Pennsylvania Treasury Department’s Holocaust Assets Recovery Holocaust Claims Processing Office, New York State Banking Department Volkswagen -Fund for Former Forced Laborers France’s Mattéoli Commission Swiss Bureau on Looted Art Simon Wiesenthal Center International Commission on Holocaust Insurance Claims -- -- German -Compensation Fund for NonJewish Victims Swiss Bank The Accounts— Netherlands Ernst & Young -- -- Holocaust Claims Processing Office, New York State Banking Department -- Swiss Bank Settlement Pennsylvania Treasury Department’s Holocaust Assets Recovery -- -- The Netherlands -- -- Simon Wiesenthal Center -- -- CRS-3 Organizations Assisting with Holocaust-Era Claims For guidance and updates on where and how to seek reparations, contact the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (a.k.a. “Claims Conference”) listed below. The Claims Conference has issued a comprehensive Restitution Guide for additional compensation and restitution programs in the United States and worldwide. Allianz Insurance Group—There is no address listed in the United States but they do provide a 24-hour, multilingual help line for claimants seeking recovery of payments from property, casualty, and life insurance policies from this German company at 1-800-4110118, or by contacting the International Commission on Holocaust Insurance Claims (ICHEIC) at 1-800-496-1974. American Jewish Committee Research Department—For information on the restitution of Jewish property in Central and Eastern Europe, and a listing of German companies that used forced and slave laborers. American Jewish Committee Research Department 165 East 56th Street New York, NY 10022-2746 Tel: (212) 751-4000 Internet at [http://www.ajc.org] American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (AJJDC)—For restitution for needy Holocaust victims in the United States who resided in the former Eastern Bloc during and after World War II. Compensation was made available from the “International Fund for Needy Victims of Nazi Persecution” created at the London Nazi Gold Conference, December 1997. American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee 711 3rd Avenue New York, NY 10017-4014 Tel: (212) 687-6200 Fax: (212) 682-7262 E-mail: info@jdcny.org Art Loss Register—Regarding stolen or missing art contact: The Art Loss Register 666 Fifth Avenue, 21st Floor New York, NY 10103 Tel: (212) 262-4831 Fax: (212) 262-4838 E-mail: alrnewyork@aol.com Internet at: [http://www.artloss.com] Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A. (Italy’s largest insurance company)—For application forms to file insurance claims or to request archival research. Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A. Policy Information Center 45 Rockefeller Plaza, Suite 200 New York, NY 10111-0100 Tel: 1-800-456-8174 CRS-4 Austrian Bank Claims—For dormant account claims in Austrian banks. The deadline for filing a claim was May 31, 2000. For questions regarding status of claims submitted contact the following: Austrian Bank Holocaust Litigation c/o Plaintiffs Class Counsel E-mail: questions@austrianbankclaims.com P.O. Box 1650 Internet at: [http://www.austrianbankclaims.com] Philadelphia, PA 19105-1650 USA Austrian National Fund for the Victims of National Socialism—Created in 1995 by the Austrian government to provide onetime payments of 70,000 Austrian Schillings (about $6,000) to victims of Nazi persecution. Applications for compensation in the United States are made through the Austrian Embassy. Mrs. Ingrid Richardson Tel: (202) 895-6719 Consular Attache for Legal and Social Security Affairs Fax: (202) 895-6772 Embassy of Austria E-mail: austroinfo@austria.org 3524 International Court, NW Internet at: [http://www.austria.org] Washington, D.C. 20008-3035 Belarus —For citizens and current residents, Jewish and non-Jewish, for compensation for forced labor. Belarusian Republican Foundation for “Mutual Understanding and Reconciliation” Minsk, Belarus Fax: 375-172-32113 California Holocaust Insurance Settlement Alliance—For California residents filing Holocaust-era claims against European insurance companies. Holocaust Insurance Claims ATTN: Leslie Tick, Senior Staff Counsel 45 Fremont Street, 23rd Floor San Francisco, CA 94105 Tel: 1-888-234-4636 or (415) 538-4190 Fax: (415) 904-5896 Internet at: [http://www.insurance.ca.gov] Cohen, Milstein, Hausfe ld & Toll—Washington, D.C., based law firm. For information on the $1.25 billion lawsuit against Swiss banks on dormant war-era bank accounts and litigation on World War II-era slave laborers. Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C. 1100 New York Avenue, N.W. Suite 500, West Tower Washington, D.C. 20005 Tel: (202) 408-4600 Fax: (202) 408-4699 E-mail at lawinfo@cmht.com Internet at: [http://www.cmht.com] Commission for Art Recovery of the World Jewish Congress (CAR)—For claims forms contact: Tel: (212) 521-0102 Commission for Art Recovery Fax: (212) 319-8681 767 Fifth Avenue, Suite 4600 E-mail:car@rslmgmt.com New York, NY 10153 Internet at: [http://www.wjc-artrecovery.org] CRS-5 Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc. (a.k.a. “Claims Conference”). Its Web site has a comprehensive Restitution Guide. Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany Tel: (212) 696-4944 15 East 26th Street, Suite 906 Fax: (212) 679-2126 New York, NY 10010 E-mail: claimscon@aol.com Internet at: [http://www.claimscon.org/RestitutionGuide.html] Claims Conference Article 2 Fund—This fund was created in 1993 to compensate Jewish victims in the former East Germany after the reunification of Germany. This decision was formalized in Article 2 of the “Agreement on the Enactment and Interpretation of the Unification Treaty” of September 18, 1990, that unified Germany. Jewish victims of Nazi persecution are eligible if they: 1) were 6 months or longer in a concentration camp or 18 months or longer in a ghetto or 18 months or longer in hiding; and 2) received no more than DM 10,000 in previous compensation; and 3) currently live under difficult financial circumstances. If eligible, compensation is a lifetime pension in the amount of DM 500 per month. Claims Conference Article 2 Fund 15 East 26th Street, Room 906 New York, NY 10010 Tel: (212) 696-4944 Fax: (212) 679-2126 E-mail: info@claimscon.org Claims Conference Hardship Fund—Applications for compensation under the Hardship Fund are still being accepted. Compensation is available to Jewish victims of Nazi persecution who have received no previous compensation and currently live under difficult financial conditions. Compensation under the Hardship Fund consists of a one-time payment of DM 5000. Claims Conference Hardship Fund 15 East 26th Street, Room 906 New York, NY 10010 Tel: (212) 696-4944 Fax: (212) 679-2126 E-mail: info@claimscon.org Czech Republic—For citizens and current residents, Jewish and non-Jewish, for compensation for forced labor. Czech-German Future Fund Prague, Czech Republic Fax: 420-2-83850-503 Denmark—A fund created by the Danish government for former citizens of Denmark who suffer from a physical disability as a result of persecution during the Nazi occupation, or as a result of incarceration in concentration camps. Royal Danish Consulate General One Dag Hammarskjöld Plaza 885 Second Avenue, 18th Floor New York, NY 10017 Tel: (212) 223-4545 Fax: (212) 754-1904 E-mail: information@denmark.org Internet at: [http://www.denmark.org] CRS-6 Enemy Property Payment Scheme (United Kingdom)—During World War II, the British government confiscated property in the United Kingdom belonging to residents of countries that were at war with Britain and her allies. Unfortunately, some of the property confiscated belonged to victims of the Holocaust and was not returned to the rightful owners after the war. For information contact: Enemy Property Claims-FRM2 118 #10 Victoria St. 10 Victoria Street London SW1H 0ET United Kingdom Tel: 44-171-215-3485 Fax: 44-171-215-3487 E-mail address: property.enemy@frmd.dti.gov.uk Internet at: [http://www.enemyproperty.gov.uk] Florida Department of Insurance—For claims by Florida residents against European insurance companies. For information on filing a claim contact: Florida Department of Insurance Holocaust Victims Project ATTN: Karen Asher Cohen, General Deputy Counsel 200 East Gaines Street Tallahassee, FL 32399-4205 Tel: (850) 488-6129 Fax: (850) 413-4136 Forced and Slave Labor—After nearly 2 years of intense negotiations, a compensation fund was officially signed on July 17, 2000, in Berlin by representatives of Germany, the United States, Israel, and several East European nations establishing the German Foundation, “Remembrance, Responsibility, and the Future.” For background information on the German Remembrance Fund, consult its Internet site at [http://www.stiftungsinitiative.de/eindex.html]. One-time payments to surviving laborers are expected later this year. Please note: The heirs of both forced and slave labor victims who died after February 15, 1999, are also eligible to file a claim. Claimants who qualify as forced laborers will receive $2,500 each, and those who qualify as slave laborers will receive $7,500 each. For application and distribution information for surviving Jewish laborers in the United States and worldwide, contact the following: Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany 15 East 26th Street, Room 906 New York, NY 10010 Tel: (212) 696-4944 Fax: (212) 679-2126 E-mail: info@claimscon.org For application and distribution information for non-Jewish victims in the United States and worldwide ( except Poland, Russia, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which are listed separately by country) contact: International Organization for Migration (IOM) Slave and Forced Labor Compensation Project Tel : (202) 862-1826 Fax : (202) 862-1879 CRS-7 1752 N Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20036 E-mail: compensation@iom.int Internet at: [http://www.compensation-for-forced-labour.org] International Organization for Migration (IOM) Project for Payments to Former Nazi Slave and Forced Workers 17 Route des Morillons, C.P. 71 Tel: 011-41-22-7179235 CH-1211 Geneva 19 Fax: 011-41-22-7986150 Switzerland E-mail: compensation@iom.int For information on separate funds that offer compensation to former laborers in factories owned by Siemens and Volkswagen, contact them at: Siemens AG Tel: 49-89-636-32353 Humanitärer Hilfsfonds Fax: 49-89-636-33582 (Humanitarian Relief Fund for Former Forced Laborers) Postfach 10 12 12 E-mail: humanitaerer.hilfsfonds@siemens.de Munich 80088, Germany Volkswagen Fund for Former Forced Laborers KPMG Deutsche Treuhand-Gesellschaft AG Postfach 550350 60402 Frankfurt am Main, Germany Fax: 49-69-9587-3333 France’s Mattéoli Commission—Created in 1995 by the French government to investigate the confiscation of Jewish assets in France. Inquiries regarding claims of individual assets by former Jewish citizens of France should contact: Mission d’Étude sur la Spoliation des Juifs de France 1 rue de la Faisanderie 75016 Paris, France Tel: 33-1-45-05-1441 Fax: 33-1-45-05-1430 German Compensation to Non-Jewish Victims of Nazi Persecution—A separate government program for victims of Nazi persecution who were not Jewish at the time of their persecution and therefore not eligible for any of the funds administered by the Claims Conference. For eligibility requirements and additional information contact: Bezirkregierung Köln Widergutmachung- Dezernat 37.7 Zeughausstr. 2-10 50667 Köln, Germany Tel: 49-221-147-2315 Fax: 49-221-147 3331 Holocaust Art Restitution Project (HARP)—For stolen or missing art contact: Holocaust Art Restitution Project (HARP) Tel: (202) 857-9260 B’nai B’rith National Jewish Museum Internet at: [http://lostart.org] 1640 Rhode Island Avenue, N.W. CRS-8 Washington, D.C. 20036-3278 Holocaust Claims Processing Office, New York State Banking Department — For filing claims for dormant bank accounts, insurance, and information on additional claims contact them at: New York State Banking Department Holocaust Claims Processing Office 2 Rector Street New York, NY 10006 Tel: 1-800-695-3318 or (212) 618-6983 Fax: (212) 618-6908 E-mail: claimsques@banking.state.ny.us Internet at: [http://claims.state.ny.us] International Commission on Holocaust Insurance Claims (ICHEIC)—For World War II-era insurance claims, contact the address and telephone number listed below. Please note: Residents of California, Florida, New York, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania should contact their state insurance commissioners directly for updates. TNT International Mail LHR / LCY / 690547 / 001 Int. Antwoordnummer C.C.R.I Numero 5120 3000 VB Rotterdam Pays - Bas Nederland Tel: 1-800-957-3203 Internet at: [http://www.ICHEIC.org] The Netherlands —The Jewish community in the Netherlands has established a claims registration office for assets including Dutch bank accounts, insurance, and looted art. Centraal Meldpunt Joodese Oorlogsclaims Postbus 12969 1100 AZ Amsterdam, Netherlands Tel: 31-20-416-7596 Fax: 31-20-416-5915 E-mail: meldount@cjo.nl Pennsylvania Treasury Department’s Holocaust Assets Recovery—“A Search for Justice” Web site assists anyone from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania with reason to believe that assets deposited in Swiss banks between January 1, 1933, and May 9, 1945, belonging to them or a relative to which they are an heir are urged to contact this office. Persons with claims on insurance policies issued by a European insurance company should also contact this office. No address was provided. Tel: 1-800-379-3999 or (717) 705-2959 Internet at: [http://www.treasury.state.pa.us/DefaultASearch.html] Poland—For citizens and current residents, Jewish and non-Jewish, for compensation for forced labor. Foundation for Polish-German Reconciliation Warsaw, Poland Fax: 48-22-629-5278 CRS-9 Polish American Congress (PAC)—For information on lost art works in Poland, and claims forms for compensation for slave/forced labor in German industries. Access to the electronic document Wartime Losses, Polish Painting, Oil Paintings, Pastels, and Watercolors, Lost between 1939-1945 by the PAC and the Polish Embassy in Washington, D.C., is available via the Internet at: [http://www.polamcon.org/lostart]. For further information, contact: Attn:Boguslaw M. Majewski Embassy of Poland 2640 16th Street, N.W. Washington D.C. 20009 Telephone: (202) 234 3800 Fax: (202) 328-6271 Email: embpol@telcocom.com Attn: Joseph Bulat, Legal Counsel Forced Labor Compensations Polish American Congress/PNA 6100 N. Cicero Avenue Chicago, IL 60646 Telephone: (773) 763-9944 Fax: (773) 286-0842 Russia—For citizens and current residents, Jewish and non-Jewish, for compensation for forced labor. Russian-German Foundation for “Understanding and Reconciliation” Moscow, Russia Fax: 7-95-203-0450 Simon Wiesenthal Center—For information on dormant bank accounts in Britain, France, Sweden, and Switzerland, as well as Holocaust-era insurance policies, contact them at the address below or visit their Web site “Holocaust Assets” for information on how to obtain copies of the various claims forms. Information on insurance claims made in California against European insurers is also located at this Web site. The Simon Wiesenthal Center 9760 West Pico Boulevard Los Angeles, California 90035 Tel: 1-800-900-9036 Internet at: [http://www.wiesenthal.com/swiss/index.html] Swiss Bank Settlement—The toll-free number for information on the $1.25 billion Swiss Bank Settlement is available in English and Hebrew. Tel: 1-888-635-5483 Internet at: [http://www.swissbankclaims.com] Swiss Bureau on Looted Art Contact Bureau on Looted Art ATTN: Dr. Andrea F.G. Raschèr Hallwylstr. 15 CH-3003 Berne, Switzerland Tel: 41-31-322-03-25 Fax: 41-31-322-92-73 E-mail: andrea.rascher@bak.admin.ch CRS-10 Swiss Embassy—For information on additional compensation programs not listed. Embassy of Switzerland 2900 Cathedral Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20008 Tel: (202) 745-7900 Fax: (202) 387-2564 Internet at: [http://www.swissemb.org] Swiss Fund for Needy Victims of the Holocaust/Shoah—This fund was created in 1997 by the Swiss Federal Council to assist needy victims in the United States, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union. New applications are no longer being accepted. On February 26, 1999, checks of $502 each were mailed to accepted applicants. The notification letters to those applicants who did not meet the eligibility criteria were also mailed on that date. Final judgment on disputed claims was made in August 1999. Ukraine—For citizens and current residents, Jewish and non-Jewish, for compensation for forced labor. Ukrainian National Foundation for “Understanding and Reconciliation” Kiev, Ukraine Fax: 38-44-224-6555 United Restitution Organization—Provides legal assistance for individuals in claims against Germany, including information on property restitution in Eastern Europe (excluding the former East Germany) for a nominal fee. United Restitution Organization 570 7th Avenue, 11th Floor New York, NY 10018 Tel: (212) 921-3860 Fax: (212) 575-1918 United States Holocaust Memorial Museum—Provides information on the various compensation plans by country and by type of asset at their Internet site. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Tel: (202) 488-0400 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20024 Internet at: [http://www.ushmm.org/assets/index.html]