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Even while World War II was still raging, the Allies established the basis for reparation payments to the victims of National Socialism. The future administrative authorities in Germany were to receive the right to confiscate all assets the Nazi state had appropriated by coercion or force. An American military law enacted in 1947 laid down that these assets must either be restored to their rightful owners or compensation be paid for them.

The law became the guiding principle for the policy of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 1951, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer formulated the standpoint of the newly-founded state thus: "In our name unspeakable crimes have been committed that demand compensation and restitution, both moral and material, for the persons and properties of the Jews who have been so seriously harmed."

In 1952 Germany and Israel signed the Luxembourg Agreement in which the Federal Republic of Germany defined itself as the legal successor of the German Reich and committed to make payments to the state of Israel and the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany. In 1956 and 1957, respectively, the Bundesentschädigungsgesetz (Federal Law for the Compensation of the Victims of Nazi Persecution) and the Bundesrückerstattungsgesetz (Federal Restitution Law) regulated the categories and principles of reparation payments to the victims of persecution.
German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett signing the Luxembourg Agreement on Restitution and Compensation in 1952.  - Bundesbildstelle Berlin
German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett signing the Luxembourg Agreement on Restitution and Compensation in 1952. - Bundesbildstelle Berlin
The German Federal Compensation Law, or Bundesentschädigungsgesetz (BEG), was passed in 1956 to regulate the material compensation of victims of Nazi persecution. Anyone who had been persecuted for his or her religious convictions, ethnic identity, or personal beliefs was entitled to submit a claim. Persecution victims or their descendents could apply for restitution of confiscated property and financial compensation for loss of liberty and belongings, damage to health, and hindrance to educational or financial advancement.
Conservative Catholic politician and Lord Mayor of Cologne. He was relieved of his offices by the Nazis in 1933 and was imprisoned several times by the end of the war. A founder of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) and the first federal chancellor of West Germany (1949-63). It was during Adenauer's term as chancellor that Germany's restitution policy was formulated and political relations with Israel were established.
David Ben Gurion was a statesman, politician, union official, and a founder of the State of Israel. He was twice prime minister of Israel and helped to establish ties with the Federal Republic of Germany.
Israeli politician, Israel's foreign minister from 1948 to 1956 and its prime minister in 1953-55. In 1952 he signed the German-Israeli Agreement on Restitution and Compensation with German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer.
  • European Recovery Program is proclaimed.
  • Law No 59 of the Military Government on restitution and compensation for assets confiscated under the Nazi regime.
The dimension of the crimes that Germany had to answer for and the sheer scale of the suffering inflicted on the millions of victims made just compensation impossible. However, it was hoped that the ethical standards that Nazi society had destroyed through the Shoa could be reinstated.

Thus the Federal Republic of Germany attempted to face up to its historical responsibility, by at least developing offers of material compensation. The underlying idea was to place the claimants in the same position as comparable, unaffected sections of the population by financial, legal and non-material means. However, other foreign-policy interests influenced reparation policy as well. It was, among other things, an instrument for preparing the new German state's path back into the international community of nations as an equal member.

The victims of persecution or their descendants were given the right to apply for the restitution of lost possessions, financial compensation for the deprivation of liberty and property, damage to health, or lost earnings and educational opportunities. This also included compensation for levies on the Jews such as the Reich Flight Tax and the atonement tax.

A total of approximately 4,4 million claims for compensation were filed under those programs. By the end of 2019 the Federal Republic had made material reparation payments of some 78 billion Euros worldwide. Payments are ongoing.
Study on Germany’s compensation payments to Jewish victims by Australian-Israeli historian Ronald W. Zweig (1987)
Study on Germany’s compensation payments to Jewish victims by Australian-Israeli historian Ronald W. Zweig (1987)
In 1931, Germany levied a tax in an effort to staunch the flight of capital abroad. The Nazis increased this tax in 1934 to 25% on assets exceeding 50,000 reichsmarks. The new "Reich Flight Tax," or Reichsfluchtsteuer, became a key tool for the expropriation of Jewish emigrants by the Nazi state.
The German Federal Compensation Law, or Bundesentschädigungsgesetz (BEG), was passed in 1956 to regulate the material compensation of victims of Nazi persecution. Anyone who had been persecuted for his or her religious convictions, ethnic identity, or personal beliefs was entitled to submit a claim. Persecution victims or their descendents could apply for restitution of confiscated property and financial compensation for loss of liberty and belongings, damage to health, and hindrance to educational or financial advancement.
  • First Federal Compensation Law for Nazi persecutes
The attempt to provide material reparation for the victims of the Nazi regime was one of the most pressing tasks facing the new German state.

All sectors of industry, including Allianz, had to come to terms with the claims and demands of the victims of political persecution and economic pillage. Specifically, they addressed the injustices towards former Jewish employees, the treatment of Jewish former owners of "aryanized" property, and Jewish owners of life insurance policies.

Only few claims for reparation were filed against Allianz on the basis of unpaid life insurance policies. The main reason was that most policies of Jewish policyholders had been cancelled by their owners in the 1930s. Allianz had paid the surrender value, and the policies were thus terminated.

Policyholders who had to cancel their contracts because they were persecuted by the Nazis had a right to be compensated by the Federal Republic. Policies that had not been surrendered by 1941 were confiscated by the Nazi state. After confiscation, the insurance companies had to pay the surrender values to the financial authorities.

On the other hand, there were several claims for compensation against Allianz resulting from "Aryanization." For the most part, these claims were clarified in the 1950s and '60s. For example, in 1949, the son of Else and Julius Basch, who was living in New York, claimed the restitution of a residential and commercial property, which Allianz had purchased from Vermögensverwertung München. Allianz and Else und Julius Basch's son agreed on a compromise settlement. Supplementary to the price paid in 1940, the insurer paid him the sum of 1.1 million marks.
For restitution procedures Allianz calculated the actual value of a life insurance policy which had been confiscated by the National Socialist state. For this service it received a reimbursement from the state.
For restitution procedures Allianz calculated the actual value of a life insurance policy which had been confiscated by the National Socialist state. For this service it received a reimbursement from the state.

Anja Rechenberg
Spokesperson Corporate Responsibility

Phone +49 89 3800 4511
Fax +49 89 3800 84511

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