The Jewish Genealogical Society and the Ackman & Ziff Family Genealogy Institute at the center for Jewish history present a talk by Dr. Hubert Steiner of Vienna, who will speak about the Austrian State Archives and some of its holdings. Shortly after the Nazi occupation and annexation of Austria, a regulation on the declaration of Jewish property was enacted on April 26, 1938. These property registrations were the first steps in the systematic robbery of Jewish properties. The next month, the Nazi authority dealing with properties was established in Austria to administer the so-called Aryanizations. Most of their files still exist and may be used not only for studying questions of economic or administrative history but also for genealogical research.
After the end of Nazi rule in 1945, property restitution laws were implemented. Ten years later a process for compensation for victims of political persecution began, and in the 1950s and 1960s relief funds were established. These files, which contain many personal biographies, especially about how people escaped and started new lives in exile, can now be viewed in the Austrian State Archives.
It is these same files which are used by the National Fund of Austria for Victims of National Socialism, which was founded in 1995. In 1998 the Austrian Historical Commission was established to investigate and report on the whole complex of expropriations in Austria during the Nazi era and to develop procedures for restitution and/or compensation (including other financial or social benefits) to victims by Austria. In 2003 the Commission presented its results in a 14,000 page document.