Austria Gives Wjc List of Vienna Jews Whose Goods Were Confiscated by Nazis

Austria has made available a list of 50,000 Jewish residents of Vienna in 1938 who were forced to hand over their private possessions to the Nazi authorities.

The list, which was presented to the World Jewish Congress by researchers from the Austrian State Archives, is an important historical source providing a way for Holocaust victims to document claims against the Austrian government, the WJC said last week.

But the WJC also pointed out that Austria has so far refused to pay reparations to Holocaust survivors as Germany has done.

The Jewish organization stressed that the 350-page volume lists those individuals who were forced to register with the Nazi authorities, but it does not provide the underlying information on assets they had registered.

This initial volume also does not include assets other than private holdings.

The WJC has been informed that further studies will focus on trade, bank holdings, industry and statistics.

The material sent to the WJC was derived from the holdings of the Nazi regime’s Authority for the Transfer of Assets. The listings were the result of two years of intensive work by two research historians from the Austrian State Archives, Hubert Stein and Christian Kucsera.

In their letter of transmittal to the WJC, the two historians wrote that the seizure of Jewish property by the Nazis “stood as the signpost of the way which would end in Auschwitz, Treblinka, Majdanek, Sobibor and other concentration camps.”

“As archivists and historians,” they wrote, “we consider it necessary to come to accounts with Jewish culture and its history in order to counter revisionism through objective views.”

In 1938, Hitler engineered the Anschluss — the union of Nazi Germany and Austria to form the Greater Reich. The Nazis began their persecution of Austrian Jews by depriving them of their economic means.

Among the initial measures introduced were the “Instructions for the Registry of Jewish Belongings” which compelled all Jewish citizens to determine their total assets in the country and outside its borders and to register any sum in excess of 5,000 marks.

More than 500 officials were engaged in the transfer of Jewish assets — the forced sale of Jewish businesses to “proper Aryan owners.”

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