From 1933-38, transfers of Jewish owned enterprises to German ownership was "voluntary". At the time of the Nazi takeover in 1933, there were about 100,000 Jewish owned enterprises in Germany. It is estimated that the value of Jewish help assets at this time was in excess of RM 10 billon. During this "voluntary" period, there was relentless pressure placed on Jews to sell their businesses. By the spring of 1938, 60% to 70% of Jewish businesses had been liquidated pursuant to the Decree on the Registration of the Property of Jews of April 26, 1938, all Jews were required to value all their assets (foreign and domestic) and register them if their value was in excess of RM 5,000. As a result of this decree, the value of Jewish assets in "greater Germany" (including Austria) was about RM 8 billion. The compulsory stage of Aryanization began with legislation enacted in November, 1938, the goal of which was to "exclude the Jews from the economic life of Germany." The regulations adopted pursuant to this legislation, prohibited all economic activity of Jews except for certain services that could be rendered to Jews only. In addition, all remaining Jewish businesses were put under government control with the goal of sale to Germans with a substantial portion of the sales price going to the government.
After Kristallnacht, the Nazis commenced open confiscation of Jewish property. Two of the major forms of such confiscation were the imposition of the Suhneleistung ("atonment payment"), also known as the Jewish Capital Levy ("JUVA") and the Reichsfluchtsteur ("escape tax'). The former was enacted on November 12, 1938, and imposed a tax of 20% (later raised to 25%) of the registered assets of the Jews. RM 1.25 billion were collected from this tax. The latter tax had to be paid by Jews on leaving Germany, including deportation to concentration camps outside Germany. The amount of the tax was 25% of registered assets. As a result of these levies and others, those Jews fortunate enough to emigrate were able to save only a small portion of their assets. For Jews remaining in Germany after 1938, whatever assets they had left were kept in blocked accounts in specified financial institutions, from which only a modest amount could be withdrawn for their living expenses.
The documents below pertain to Friedrich Steiner and his wife Nelly, Austrian Jews living in Vienna. Friedrich was born in Vienna in 1880. His father worked for the Austrian rail service. Friedrich received a Doctor of Laws degree in 1903 and also worked for the Austrian Railroad Service. He served in the German Army during World War I in the Serbian campaign. He worked for the Railroad until 1938 when he was pensioned as a non-Aryan. They had two sons, one of which was also an attorney with the railroad, who was terminated as a result of being Jewish. My sincere thanks to Henry Schwab for his help in understanding these documents.
Securities Registration-- Pursuant to legislation, Jews were required to register securities holdings by April 5, 1938. Below are thumbnails of two registration forms. The first is for securities held by Nelly Steiner dated March 23, 1939, and the second is for securities held by Friedrich Steiner dated April 3, 1938. Please click on the thumbnail to see the full image, and then click your back key or "Securities Registration" in the left frame to return.
Foreign Banks-- Assets held by Jews in foreign banks had to be registered and transferred to German institutions. Below are thumbnails of various documents from the Schweizerischer Bankverein in Zurich, Switzerland pertaining to securities held in the name of Nelly Steiner. The first, dated April 23, 1938, indicates that the securities described in the letter will be deposited with the Zentral-Europaische-Landerbank in Vienna. The second, dated April 22, 1938, deals with Swedish securities. The third, dated March 24, 1938, deal with British securities. The fourth letter, dated April 25, 1938, deals with securities deposited in the Swiss bank, but to be transferred to the bank in Vienna. The last letter, dated August 22, 1939, pertains to securities owned as of January 1, 1938. Please click on the thumbnail to see the full image, and then click your back key or "Foreign Banks" in the left frame to return.
Personal History-- Below are thumbnails of (1) an order from The State Commissioner dated July 5, 1938, to Friedrich Steiner requesting the submission of a personal history, and (2) a draft of such history. Please click on the thumbnail to see the full image, and then click your back key or "Personal History" in the left frame to return.
April 27, 1938 Rules-- Pursuant to rules promulgated on April 27, 1938, Jews were required to file additional statements of assets. Below are thumbnails of such statements (four pages each) filed by Nelly Steiner, Friedrich Steiner and an amended statement filed by Friedrich Steiner. Also below are thumbnails of two letters: the first is a letter, dated August 8, 1938, from the Asset Communication Office in the Ministry of Commerce and Labor ordering Friedrich to sell foreign securities, but the letter bears a handstamp dated August 16, 1938, indicating that the order was suspended for the time being. The second letter is an asset declaration from Friedrich dated December 12, 1938, asking that his retirement benefit of RM 68,710 not be taken into consideration. Please click on the thumbnail to see the full image, and then click your back key or "April 27, 1938 Rules" in the left frame to return.
Jewish Capital Levy ("JUVA")-- Below are thumbnails of various documents pertaining to the Jewish Capital Levy ("JUVA"). The first is a printed notice of a a Securities and Jewish Assets Tax Decree effective December 15, 1938. The next is a Statement of Security still owned dated September 11, 1939. The next three documents are notices of payment liability for the "Atonement" payment: Number 2 rate dated February 24, 1939; Number 3 rate dated May 23, 1939; and Number 4 rate dated August 16, 1939 (constantly increasing rates). The next document is the front and back of a letter dealing with real estate holdings for purposes of the JUVA tax. Please click on the thumbnail to see the full image, and then click your back key or "Jewish Capital Levy" in the left frame to return.
Flight Tax (Reichsfluchtsteur)-- Below are thumbnails of various documents pertaining to the Flight Tax (Reichsfluchtsteur) imposed on Jews emigrating from Germany and Austria. The first is the front and back of a Notification of Security from the Flight Tax Office in Austria dated September 27, 1939. This Notice indicates that the Steiners will be giving up their residence in Austria and therefore are required to post security for payment of the flight tax (25% of their remaining assets). The amount determined by the Flight Tax Office is RM 24,300, determined as follows:
Gross Assets as of January 1, 1938 RM 122,127
Less Atonement Payment 25,200
Net Assets 96,927
Flight Tax (25%) 24,231
Rounded to 24,300
The second document is the front and back of a Landregister Entry Request on November 6, 1939, pertaining to the security for the Flight Tax. This action was filed by the Reich Finance Office against Nelly Steiner, and the court awarded costs of RM 198.20. The last document is a notice from Reich Financial Office dated January 17, 1940. This notice reduces the security amount of RM 24,300 to RM 22,900. The reason for the reduction was the payment of RM 5,800 by the Steiners for the Jewish Assets Tax. 20% of this payment (RM 1450) was allowed as reduction in the security amount. Please click on the thumbnail to see the full image, and then click your back key or "Flight Tax" in the left frame to return.
Living Expenses-- The Jewish assets were held in blocked accounts, and Jews were permitted to draw small amounts from these accounts for living expenses. For example, the Steiners were permitted to draw RM 200 per month from their accounts. Below are thumbnails of a document filed by Friedrich, dated August 8, 1940, requesting that their monthly allowance be increased to RM 637, determined as follows:
Rent, heat, gas and electric 105
Living expenses 350
Household help 57
Aid to elderly Aryan household help 50
Pursuant to a notification dated August 21, 1940, an increase to RM 600 was approved. Please click on the thumbnail to see the full image, and then click your back key or "Living Expenses" in the left frame to return.
Reparations and Restitution
Since the end of the war, enormous amounts of money have been paid by Germany to the victims of Nazi oppression. The first official claim was presented by the Jewish Agency in September, 1945, to the Allied governments. Between 1945 and 1947, the occupying powers enacted various legislation dealing with reparations, particularly regarding real estate. With the founding of the state of Israel in 1948, the Jewish state, together with the major world Jewish organizations (later organized as the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany, assumed the major responsibility in representing the Jewish people with respect to their claims. Beginning in 1951, Israel submitted notes to the Allied powers regarding reparations. Although claiming to be sympathetic, the Allied powers made it clear that the issue of reparations would have to be negotiated directly with the West German government. Over the next two years, extensive negotiations took place. Finally, on March 18, 1953, an agreement was approved by all parties. Payments under this agreement ended in 1965. East Germany did recognize any such claims until 1990. In 2000, a multibillion dollar fund was established by the German government, numerous German corporations and other institutions to compensate those individuals who were forced laborers under the Nazi regime.
Below are various documents dealing with reparations, primarily under the legislations and rules enacted by the Allied powers.
American Federation of Jews From Central Europe 1947 Bulletin-- This item is an information bulletin published in December, 1947, by the American Federation of Jews from Central Europe, dealing with the property restitution laws enacted for the American, French and British occupying zones. Please click on the thumbnail to see the full image, and then click your back key or "December, 1947 Bulletin" in the left frame to return.
1948 Three Page Questionnaire From the Bavarian Restitution Office-- This item is a three page questionnaire and related documents provided by the Bavarian Restitution Office regarding reparations for persons who had been persecuted for racial, religious or political reasons. Form A (#13) pertains to loss of life. This form is a carbon copy of a document submitted by Lee Schwab with respect to her father, Lee Schwab, who was declared dead on November 1, 1943, at Auschwitz. Form C (#14) pertains to harm to body and health. Form C (#15 and #16) pertains to harm to personal liberty. The next item is the front and back of an official acknowledgement card from the Central Filing Agency, Bad Nauheim, Germany, postmarked August 35, 1949, to Lee (Schwab) Marcus in New York City, assigning reference W. 104811 for the claim filed December 10, 1948, now on record with the Military Government Restitution Office in Fuerth, Franconia, as of March 21, 1949. The last item is an official card postmarked Munich, December 21, 1950, to Lee Marcus from the main Bavarian Restitution Office with a new listing (case #79889/VII/21533) regarding Ivan Schwab. Please click on the thumbnail to see the full image, and then click your back key or "Bavarian Restitution Office" in the left frame to return.
British Zone Reparation Procedures-- Below are thumbnails of various documents pertaining to the restitution claims of Rudolph Marx. The first item is an Application Notice by the Military Authority, British Zone of Occupation, Central Office of Property Management, in Bad Nenndorf. The notice is divided into three sections: Section I deals with personal information of applicants; Section II deals with the loss of immovable assets; and Section III deals with the loss of movable assets. There is also a typewritten addendum with other conditions. The next item is a letter dated July 17, 1947, from the Reichsbank Branch Office in Duren, which was the former residence of the Marx family. The letter acknowledges the request for information necessary to making restitution claims, but states that bank will not be able to provide the information requested, due to the direct hits sustained by the bank during a bombing attack on November 16, 1944. The next item is a certified cover dated December 2, 1949, from the British Central Claims Registry in Bad Nenndorf to Rudolph Marx in New York. The next item is the front and back of a card dated December 9, 1957, from the Area Office for Compensation in Düsseldorf to Rudolph Marx regarding compensation for harm to his health as a result of his having been an inmate at Buchenwald for a period after Kristallnacht. The next item is an envelope dated November 7, 1957, from the Wiedergutmachungsaemter Von Berlin, to Rudolph Marx in New York. There was a delivery problem due to a missing street address, which was corrected. The last item is the front and back of a card postmarked July 8, 1957, from the District Director Wiedergutmachung (Compensation) in Duren, to the daughter of Rudolph Marx acknowledging the claim filed on June 29, 1956, based on Nazi persecution (Loss of Education). Please click on the thumbnail to see the full image, and then click your back key or "British Zone Reparation" in the left frame to return.
Schwab Family Documents-- Below are thumbnails of various Schwab family documents pertaining to reparations and restitution. The first item is the front and back of a card postmarked Bad Nauheim, August 2, 1949, from the Central Filing Agency to Ruth Schwab, New York, assigning Claim # A135811 to an application dated December 30, 1948, regarding ownership of land in Bad Kissingen. The second item is the front and back of a card postmarked Friedberg (Hessen), Septemebr 14, 1949, from the Central Filing Agency to Yetta Schwab, New York, assigning Claim # A111411 to an application dated December 20, 1948, regarding ownership of land in Neustadt/Aisch. The third item is the front and back of a card postmarked Friedberg (Hessen), February 8, 1949, from the Central Filing Agency to Ruth Schwab, New York, assigning Claim # R101305 to an application dated December 13, 1948, regarding ownership of land in Bad Kissingen then owned by H. Meder. The fourth item is the front and back of a card postmarked Munich, November 30, 1951, from the Bavarian Restitution Office to Ruth Schwab advising that Claim # 1204429/VII/27136 has been received but not screened. The fifth item is the front and back of a card postmarked April 27, 1950, from the American Federation of Jews From Central Europe to Ruth Schwab confirming her indemnification claim, but cautioning that the final application with supporting evidence must arrive in Germany by September 30, 1950. The last item is a cover postmarked Munich, August 24, 1970, which most likely contained a check. Please click on the thumbnail to see the full image, and then click your back key or "Schwab Family" in the left frame to return.
Other Items-- Below are thumbnails of two other items. The first is a cover from the Netherlands Commission For Reparations postmarked July 21, 1945, to S. Levy in Elmhurst (Queens), New York. The second item is a German Postal Stationery card, pre-printed and unaddressed, with three special event cancels dated December 7, 1946, for the victims of Fascism. The text announces a three day conference at Tegernsee dealing with the restoration and safeguarding of the persecuted because of race, religion and political orientation. The bold text states "We demand rights and restitution-- but not charity." The names of four concentration camps appear in boxes. Please click on the thumbnail to see the full image, and then click your back key or "Other Items" in the left frame to return.
Gutman, Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Macmillan Publishing Company (1990), P. 1255-59
Copyright © 2006 Edward Victor