A programme that handed out USD 215 million in compensation to victims of Nazi plunder in World War II has closed in Austria, the birthplace of Adolf Hitler.
Trustees of the General Compensation Fund dissolved the organisation on Tuesday, 26th April, saying it has “fulfilled” its mission.
The fund was established in Austria to process thousands of claims from Jewish victims and their heirs whose homes, businesses and assets were seized during the Nazi era.
National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka – Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the fund – said: “With the dissolution of the General Settlement Fund for Victims of National Socialism, one of the Republic of Austria’s most comprehensive projects for the restitution and compensation of Nazi property seizures has been completed.”
More than 30,000 cases filed by people persecuted by the Nazis or their descendants have been heard.
A statement said: “In total, the General Settlement Fund disbursed around 215 million US dollars to around 25,000 beneficiaries.”
Austria – which became a prosperous country after World War II – took the historic decision to compensate victims of the Third Reich after decades of denial.
It has been the subject of legal action by survivors and their descendants in the United States, who have accused individuals and communities of taking advantage of the plundering to get rich.
Fund Secretary General Hannah Lessing said: “The work of the General Settlement Fund has a significance for Austria’s historical self-image that goes beyond the compensation and restitution it has rendered. The National Fund understands this as a legacy that must be carried forward.”
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Story By: Clive Goodman, Sub-Editor: William McGee, Agency: Newsflash
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