Proceedings of Compensation and Restitution

Within the Federal Republic of Germany, the restitution of Jewish property revoked or robbed during the period of persecution goes by the controversial name of Wiedergutmachung (“to make good again”).

The “compensation” is for what can never be returned. “Professional advancement” of “life” were the categories of the proceedings. After the reunification of Germany, the so-called Wiedergutmachung proceedings were also carried out in the former territory of the GDR. Restitution cases for survivors and their offspring are yet to be concluded and continue to this day. In France, the process has been completely revised since 1997, making it significantly simpler for those affected. Today, the recognition of a victim’s individual suffering is considered a central issue of non-material compensation.

© Landesarchiv Saarbrücken, LEA 9695
Affidavit by Paul Levie, 30.4.1964

Paul Levie from Saarwellingen, was forced to go through a lengthy trial in order to receive compensation. This affidavit is from 1969. Levie stated that he was eleven years old when he arrived at Gurs and that he could not remember all the details 30 years on. While the restitutions office recognised the claims of “damage to education”, they initially denied claims of “damage to freedom” because Paul Levie could not provide proof of the time in which he had been in hiding in France under a false name.

The French government decided in 1997 that the restitution and compensation in France had been insufficient. In contrast to the German proceedings, the compensation would henceforth be handled unbureaucratically. The burden of proof no longer lies with the victims of dispossession and the decisions are declared by the judge. Among the applicants were also Jews from Baden, Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate.<br />
<br />
Commission report for the compensation of victims of dispossession due to the antisemitic legislation during the time of occupation, 2020
The French government decided in 1997 that the restitution and compensation in France had been insufficient. In contrast to the German proceedings, the compensation would henceforth be handled unbureaucratically. The burden of proof no longer lies with the victims of dispossession and the decisions are declared by the judge. Among the applicants were also Jews from Baden, Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate.

Commission report for the compensation of victims of dispossession due to the antisemitic legislation during the time of occupation, 2020
Commission report for the compensation of victims of dispossession due to the antisemitic legislation during the time of occupation, 2020
Commission report for the compensation of victims of dispossession due to the antisemitic legislation during the time of occupation, 2020
Commission report for the compensation of victims of dispossession due to the antisemitic legislation during the time of occupation, 2020
Commission report for the compensation of victims of dispossession due to the antisemitic legislation during the time of occupation, 2020
The solicitor who represented the heirs of Freiburg Professor, Robert Liefmann, who had died in March 1941 in Morlaàs, near Gurs, alluded to a central problem in his enquiry to the finance authority. The claimants must prove what they had lost. However, during the persecution many documents had been lost or destroyed.<br />
<br />
Letter from solicitor Willy Heynen to the finance authority of Freiburg, 3.2.1947
© Stadtarchiv Freiburg, F 196/1, 2176/1
The solicitor who represented the heirs of Freiburg Professor, Robert Liefmann, who had died in March 1941 in Morlaàs, near Gurs, alluded to a central problem in his enquiry to the finance authority. The claimants must prove what they had lost. However, during the persecution many documents had been lost or destroyed.

Letter from solicitor Willy Heynen to the finance authority of Freiburg, 3.2.1947
Letter from solicitor Willy Heynen to the finance authority of Freiburg, 3.2.1947
© Stadtarchiv Freiburg, F 196/1, 2176/1
Letter from solicitor Willy Heynen to the finance authority of Freiburg, 3.2.1947