Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Saturday, August 7, 1999 Published at 05:25 GMT 06:25 UK


UK

UK compensates Nazi victims

Holocaust victims had millions of pounds of assets seized

Those who suffered under the Nazis are being urged to come forward as the UK Government makes its first compensation payments to victims of the Holocaust.


Christine Stewart reports: "Details of siezed property is being publicised worldwide"
London confiscated bank accounts and valuables from citizens of countries allied with Nazi Germany during World War II. The scheme was designed to prevent money going back to Germany to finance the Nazis.

Among assets taken were millions of pounds belonging to Jews and other victims of the Holocaust across Europe.

A worldwide search is now under way to find more people who tried to escape Nazi persecution, and had property confiscated by the British authorities.


[ image: Stephen Byers: Call to other victims to come forward]
Stephen Byers: Call to other victims to come forward
The government launched its Enemy Property Compensation scheme last year to repay those affected and their descendants. It followed a campaign by Holocaust victims and their relatives.

Announcing the first payments on Friday, Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers urged other victims to come forward.

He said the £131,935 payments to the first 10 claimants would spark a worldwide hunt to remedy the "terrible injustice" of the seizures. They come from countries including Romania, Norway, Israel and Canada.

A further 250 claims from around the world are currently being processed.

Individual claimants have received up to £22,338 after details of more than 30,000 seizures were placed on the Internet.

Move welcomed

The government has set aside £25m for the scheme - the projected value of the total assets seized.


The BBC's Jack Baine: "The Holocaust Trust said nothing would make up for the time spent waiting ror money to be repaid"
Mr Byers said: "There's now a recognition that there was a terrible injustice carried out all those years ago and we need to compensate the families for those assets."

He said there was a need to "reflect on what happened" as well as taking action to remedy the situation.

"There was a considerable period where people were reluctant to face up to the reality of what occurred," he said.

"Many families were treated very badly and regarded as enemies, when in many cases their own families were being persecuted."

The move has been welcomed by a Holocaust group that had campaigned to have the assets returned.

'Honourable' action

Lord Janner, Chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: "I am delighted that the government has accepted so promptly and honourably to the evidence which the trust placed before them.

"Their response is an example to other countries on how to act fairly and swiftly."

Thousands of Jews moved assets to the UK, Switzerland and the US before the war in the hope of keeping them safe, only to have them seized when the conflict broke out in 1939.

The scheme will continue to accept claims up until the end of September.





Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©


UK Contents

Northern Ireland
Scotland
Wales
England

Relevant Stories

24 Mar 99†|†UK
UK to return Holocaust cash

07 Dec 98†|†UK
UK money for Holocaust survivors

07 Aug 98†|†UK
Britain accused of seizing £400m from Jews

03 Apr 98†|†UK
Holocaust victims win battle for lost property





Internet Links


Holocaust Victims Asset and Reparations

Enemy Property Website


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online