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Albania

Immovable Private, Communal/Religious, and Heirless Property

Albania endorsed the Terezin Declaration in 2009 and the Guidelines and Best Practices in 2010.  The country does not have any restitution or compensation laws relating specifically to Holocaust-era confiscations of private property.  Under the law, religious communities have the same restitution and compensation rights as natural or legal persons.

The Albanian government reported no records of property claims submitted by victims of the Holocaust, and the Department is not aware of any claims by the local Jewish community or American citizens regarding real property dating from the Holocaust era.  However, the Agency for the Treatment of Property faces thousands of claims for private and religious property confiscated during the communist era, which would compound any challenges for victims of the Holocaust.  The Office of the Ombudsman, an independent, constitutional entity that serves as a watchdog over the government, and NGOs noted claimants in general still struggle to obtain due process from the government for property restitution.

Austria

Immovable Private, Communal/Religious, and Heirless Property

Post-war laws provided for the restitution of certain immovable property, but the laws were only partly satisfactory.  To address inadequacies, and in accordance with provisions in the January 2001 U.S.-Austrian Washington Agreement referred to above, the Austrian government set up a General Settlement Fund in May 2001.  The Fund included an arbitration panel on in rem restitution to restitute publicly owned property formerly owned by individuals or the Austrian Jewish community.  The deadline for filing applications was 2011, and the panel finished processing applications in December 2018.  In total, the Fund restituted property in some 140 cases, worth about €48 million (approximately $52.6 million).

The 2001 General Settlement Fund’s Claims Committee also addressed open questions of compensation (as opposed to restitution) for losses of assets that had not been sufficiently resolved by previous measures.  In particular, it focused on real property, business assets, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, movable assets, insurance policies, occupational and educational losses, and other losses and damages.  The deadline for filing applications was 2003.  The Fund was endowed with approximately $210 million total and was required to make payments on a pro‑rata basis.  The Fund’s Claims Committee received more than 20,000 applications, of which some 18,155 resulted in positive decisions.  Overall, the independent Claims Committee recognized claims totaling approximately $1.5 billion.  Since the total claimed amounts determined for all successful applications exceeded the $210 million provided for by the Washington Agreement, each applicant could receive only a defined fractional share of his or her claim.  For insurance policies, successful applicants received about 20 percent of the value and for other claims, between 10 and 17 percent of the value.  The panel finished processing applications in December 2018.

In accordance with the 2001 Washington Agreement, the City of Vienna also restituted the formerly Jewish-owned and operated Hakoah sports club facilities, expanding those facilities to create a Jewish center that included a school and a home for the elderly.  The Austrian government also set up a Fund for Jewish Cemeteries in 2010, in accordance with the same agreement.

Regarding heirless property, the Austrian government provided compensation to Jewish organizations after the re-establishment of Austria’s sovereignty through the 1955 Austrian State Treaty.

Brazil

Immovable Private, Communal/Religious, and Heirless Property

There are no reports of immovable property confiscated from Jews or other targeted groups during World War II by the Brazilian government.  After the war, Brazil was a member of the “Allied and Associated Powers” involved in the 1947 Treaty of Peace with Italy, which addressed the return of property in Italy to members of the United Nations (Article 78).  Brazil later entered into a lump sum settlement with Italy in 1958 relating to compensation for damage sustained by Brazilian citizens in Italy during World War II.

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