Coming to Terms

  • “That’s not fair, Daddy”. On Being a Second and Third-Generation Applicant to the Austrian General Settlement Fund

    (Issue 2016/2)

    Download PDFDownload PDFSince the 1950s, the Republic of Austria insisted it had settled all the claims of its Jewish citizens regarding their properties stolen under the Nazi regime. From the late 1980s, with the help of personal recollections and case studies, it became ever clearer that this was often not the case, and that the Austrian authorities had in many instances – often deliberately – handled matters of restitution carelessly. Many losses were not addressed in Austrian restitution and compensation measures. In the course of the re-evaluation of the role of Austrian citizens in the Nazi era which took place in the 1990s, and in the wake of the Washington Agreement of 2001, a General Settlement Fund for Victims of National Socialism was established. Its purpose was to bring about a comprehensive resolution to open questions of compensation and to acknowledge Austria’s moral responsibility for losses of assets suffered by the victims of the Nazi regime in Austria between 1938 and 1945 in the form of voluntary payments. This article describes the inconsistencies and ordeals an applicant is confronted with in the course of a justified claim for restitution, based on personal experiences, but presented in a scholarly framework.

  • My Grandfather Simon Wiesenthal. A Family Story to be Never Yet Told

    (Issue 2017/1)

    Download PDFDownload PDFAfter his liberation from Mauthausen, Simon Wiesenthal, my late grandfather, was reunited with his wife Cyla Muller. They realised all too soon that all 89 of their relatives had been murdered. This is the notion we grew up with: “we have no family”. Over the years, I made multiple attempts to ask my grandparents about their family, but my notes remained almost empty. Upon the passing of Simon Wiesenthal, I renewed my efforts to explore our family roots and analysed personal letters and tombstones, as well as communicating with people sharing the name Wiesenthal and, most importantly, genealogy pals. This lecture focusses on the discovery of Simon Wiesenthal’s ancestors and their families. This search led to the establishment of a huge and robust family tree now shared with the public in various databases, and a story to tell to all those who are interested in the man who dedicated his life to bringing Nazi criminals and their collaborators to justice.