printable banner

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

38. Secretary of State report on U.S.-German agreement concerning the Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility, and the Future." (Sept. 2005)


Share

---­

September 2005

Report on the German Foundation

"Remembrance, Responsibility, and the Future"

as required by Section 704 of the

Foreign Relations Authorization Act, FY 2003

(as enacted in Public Law 107-228)

Report on the German Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility, and the Future"

Introduction

Section 704 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, FY 2003, as enacted in Public Law 107-228, requires the Secretary of State to report to the appropriate Congressional committees on the status of the implementation of the Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany concerning the Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility, and the Future," signed in Berlin on July 17, 2000, and, to the extent possible, on payments to and from the Foundation and on certain aspects of the functioning of the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims ("ICHEIC"). This is the sixth report submitted pursuant to that law.

Background

The United States Government played a critical role in a multilateral effort that resulted in the establishment of a Foundation under German law entitled "Remembrance, Responsibility, and the Future" ("Foundation"). The Foundation was capitalized with 10 billion German Marks (DM), valued at the time at approximately 5 billion dollars. Since June 2001, the Foundation has been making payments to survivors in recognition of the suffering they endured as slave and forced laborers. The Foundation also covers other personal injury claims and certain property loss or damage caused by German companies during the Nazi era, including claims against German banks and insurance companies. Further background is available in previous reports submitted to the committees.

Implementation of the Agreement

The United States and the Federal Republic of Germany have taken various steps to implement the Foundation Agreement. In August 2000, a German law establishing the Foundation took effect. In October 2000, the United States and the

2

_n - - --- . -- --- --­

Federal Republic of Germany exchanged diplomatic notes to bring the Foundation Agreement into effect. The United States' note indicates that the German law, as clarified and interpreted by several German Government letters, is fully consistent with the Foundation Agreement, which sets forth the principles that shall govern the operations of the Foundation.

The United States Government has filed statements of interest recommending the dismissal, on any valid legal ground, of lawsuits brought against German companies for wrongs committed during the Nazi era, and is committed to do so in future cases that are covered by the Foundation Agreement.

On May 30, 2001, the German Bundestag declared that "adequate legal certainty" had been achieved for German companies in the United States. Under the law establishing the Foundation, this declaration by the Bundestag authorized the Foundation to make funds available to the seven partner organizations (foundations that had previously been established in Belarus, the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia and Ukraine, as well as the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the International Organization for Migration) that would make payments to individual recipients.

Funds Available to the Foundation

By early 2002, the entire sum of 10 billion DM had been made available to the Foundation by the Federal Republic of Germany and by German companies.

Payments from the Foundation

As of June 2005, approximately $5.1 billion (4.2 billion Euro or 8.2 billion DM) had been paid to approximately 1,627,000 surviving slave and forced laborers. This represents 97 percent of the funds (8.1 billion DM plus an additional amount from interest earnings) available from the Foundation's capital for slave and forced labor payments. The remaining funds will continue to be paid out over the next 6 to 12 months. A breakdown of payments by partner organizations follows:

3

Partner Organization

Belarus/Estonia Conference on Jewish

Material Claims Czech Republic International

Organization for

Migration

Poland

Russia

Ukraine

TOTAL

ICHEIC

Number of Reci}!ients

Amount (in Euro)

129,000

344,300,000

146,000

76,000

1,087,900,000

209,100,000

81,000 483,000 240,000 472,000

351,700,000 970,700,000 375,300,000 865,300,000

1,627,000 Recipients

4,204,300,000 Euro

(approximately

US $5.1 billion)

The law establishing the Foundation provides funds to ICHEIC for the payment of claims arising from unpaid insurance policies issued by German insurance companies, as well as for the associated costs, and also a contribution to the ICHEIC humanitarian fund. The Foundation Agreement provides that insurance claims made against German insurance companies will be processed according to ICHEIC claims handling procedures and under any additional claims handling procedures that may be agreed among the Foundation, ICHEIC, and the German Insurance Association.

Following two earlier extensions, the deadline for filing claims was extended to December 31, 2003. The later filing deadline was designed to provide additional time for applicants, assisted by a publicized list of names, to determine whether to file a claim. Applicants who contacted ICHEIC prior to the December 31 deadline to obtain claim forms had until March 31, 2004, to complete the form and send it so that ICHEIC receives it by that date.

The Department of State was unable to obtain such information on the ICHEIC claims process as required by Section 704(a)(3)-(7). Some information about ICHEIC, including statistics on claims and appeals, however, is publicly available on ICHEIC's Web site (www.icheic.org). As of September 2005,

4

ICHEIC has received approximately 88,600 claims or inquiries, and has processed 34,500 claims cases, resulting in a total of$147 million in payment offers. Specifically, ICHEIC and cooperating companies have made 7,836 payment offers totaling $120.61 million. An additional 26,683 individuals received payments of $1,000 each through ICHEIC's humanitarian claims process. To date, some 3,100 claims were transferred to other relevant claims organizations and 8,645 claims have been denied.

ICHEIC indicated at the May 25 meeting of its officials and Commissioners that its objectives are "the completion of decision-making on all claims by 31 December 2005 and completion of all appeals decisions by mid-2006."

5

-_

--­



Back to Top
Sign-in

Do you already have an account on one of these sites? Click the logo to sign in and create your own customized State Department page. Want to learn more? Check out our FAQ!

OpenID is a service that allows you to sign in to many different websites using a single identity. Find out more about OpenID and how to get an OpenID-enabled account.