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In the 1930s and 1940s several million people had life insurance policies with Allianz. The number of policyholders rose significantly in the years immediately before and after the beginning of the war. It is impossible to place an exact figure on them, as a large number of the policies were taken out as collective policies with institutions of the state or the Nazi party. These were frame contracts concluded with the same terms and conditions as individual policies for a large number of, say, members of a particular profession, such as teachers.

A customer's religious confession was irrelevant to the insurance company when issuing a policy. Consequently Allianz had no category or special designation for Jewish policyholders. From the documents on which the life insurance policies were based it was not possible to distinguish between Jewish and non-Jewish policy holders. Only if the actual life insurance file still exists is it possible to establish from this paper whether a policyholder was Jewish or not. The number of Jewish customers can only be estimated from the information on hand.
Advertisement of Allianz Leben (Allianz Life Insurance): The number five (in blue) refers to the fact that in 1938 the entire insurance sum of its policies reached the value of 5 billion Reichsmarks.
Advertisement of Allianz Leben (Allianz Life Insurance): The number five (in blue) refers to the fact that in 1938 the entire insurance sum of its policies reached the value of 5 billion Reichsmarks.
Since early 1937 the Nazi regime had considerably increased the political and economic pressure on the Jewish population. The political framework of this process was the four-year plan, the purpose of which was to prepare Germany's economy for war. It was in this connection that the expropriation of Jewish assets took place. In spring 1938 Hermann Göring issued a decree obliging all Jewish citizens of the German Reich to draw up a detailed overview of their assets.

Jewish citizens had to enter details of all land and buildings, cash, securities, life insurance policies, works of art, jewelry and precious metals in their possession on official forms. From then on this information served the authorities as a basis for the "Aryanization" of Jewish businesses and the systematic despoliation of Jewish property after the Night of Broken Glass.
Form for registering assets of Jewish citizens, 1938 (Berlin, Landesarchiv)

National socialism attached a subservient role to the economy, giving priority instead to the power of the state and the party. These priorities left their mark on the various phases of Nazi economic policy:

Phase 1 (1933-36): Command policy to revive the economy and surmount mass unemployment.
Phase 2 (1936-42): Four-Year Plan to prepare for war and convert to a war economy.
Phase 3 (1942-45): Mobilization of all resources in the period of "total war" economy.

One of the most powerful politicians in Nazi Germany. Göring held a number of offices, being Reich Minister of Aviation, Reich Marshal of the Army, and Commissioner of the Four-Year Plan, which made him a sort of economic dictator. He was a key figure in the economic despoliation of the Jewish population.
As of 1933 the basis of livelihood of Germany's Jewish population was systematically eroded. Many customers of Allianz also had to draw on their financial reserves. In most cases they first stopped paying premiums and finally cancelled their policies in order to convert them into cash. They needed the money to cover their daily needs, but also to pay special levies or finance their emigration.

In this way a large number of Jewish customers had already surrendered their life insurance policies themselves by 1939. However, if a life insurance policy is cancelled before its maturity date the income of both the insured and the insurance company is reduced. In such cases the surrender value is payable and this was considerably lower than the face amount that would have been payable at the end of the term that had actually been agreed upon. This applied in particular if the policy had only run for a few years so that only few premiums would have been paid.

Statistics show that there was a rapid increase in policies surrendered in 1938 and 1939. After the Pogrom Night of November 1938 both the state and the Nazi party finally went over to the radical plundering of the Jews. Many Jewish customers now instructed their insurers to pay the surrender value of their cancelled policies directly to the tax authorities. In this way they attempted to pay the compulsory state levies and astronomical taxes that were imposed on emigrants.
Cover page of an Allianz Leben life insurance policy belonging to a Jewish customer.
Cover page of an Allianz Leben life insurance policy belonging to a Jewish customer.
The Reich Citizenship Law (Reichsbürgergesetz) was part of the Nuremberg Laws decreed in 1935. It discriminated against Jews by limiting their rights as citizens. Jews were no longer allowed to hold public office; Jewish civil servants were forcibly retired and had no right to engage in the political process. A number of decrees were added to the law in the years that followed. One of them was the Eleventh Supplementary Decree of November 1941, which legalized the final economic despoliation of Jews by the Nazi state.
If a life insurance policy is discontinued prior to term, the insured party is paid the "cash surrender value" of the policy. This value is not the total amount of premiums paid, but the "reserve" left after deducting administration fees and the cost of the risk coverage.
The National Socialist government created the legal basis for the direct sequestration of assets as early as 1933. It promulgated the “law on the confiscation of assets of enemies of the people and the state” (Gesetz über die Einziehung volks- und staatsfeindlichen Vermögens). It defined the conditions under which the state could deprive persons who had been declared enemies of the state of German citizenship. The property of these denaturalized persons was then confiscated by the state. In this way life insurance policies were also expropriated.

The authorities also applied these regulations in order to sequester the assets of Jewish citizens after they had emigrated. After emigration these people were denaturalized and any of their assets that remained in Germany confiscated.

Finally, in 1941, the regime decided to confiscate all Jewish assets once and for all. The 11th Verordnung zum Reichsbürgergesetz (ordinance on the Reich citizenship law) determined that the property of Jewish citizens who left Germany permanently fell to the state.

At this point in time almost all Jews who had not already emigrated were deported to concentration camps in Eastern Europe. According to Nazi logic they had therefore left Germany and forfeited their German citizenship. All their assets were then seized by the state.

Furthermore, the ordinance obliged all individuals, banks and insurance companies to notify the state of any assets of denaturalized persons they had in their custody. These assets then had to be paid over to the tax authorities.
Allianz life insurance policy
The Reich Citizenship Law (Reichsbürgergesetz) was part of the Nuremberg Laws decreed in 1935. It discriminated against Jews by limiting their rights as citizens. Jews were no longer allowed to hold public office; Jewish civil servants were forcibly retired and had no right to engage in the political process. A number of decrees were added to the law in the years that followed. One of them was the Eleventh Supplementary Decree of November 1941, which legalized the final economic despoliation of Jews by the Nazi state.

Anja Rechenberg
Spokesperson Corporate Responsibility

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

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