The Settlement Agreement signed by Bank Austria on the claims of Holocaust victims against the former Bank Austria AG and its former wholly-owned subsidiary Creditanstalt AG became effective in August 2001.
This is the first claim for compensation in connection with the Holocaust on which final agreement was reached before US courts. It is also one of only two cases in which US Federal Courts granted legally effective release from further Holocaust-related claims.
Under the Settlement Agreement, US$ 40 m was to be provided for a settlement fund (US$ 30 m for a humanitarian fund to settle claims of those Holocaust victims who suffered losses caused to them by the predecessor institutions of Bank Austria and Creditanstalt during the period from 1938 to 1945, when the National Socialists controlled those banks); a further US$ 5 m was to be provided for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims in favour of Austrian Holocaust victims.
The Settlement Agreement also provided for the setting up of an independent historical commission with the task of preparing a historical report on the policies of Creditanstalt-Bankverein, Länderbank Wien and Zentralsparkasse Wien in the period from 1933 to 1946, and establishing a permanent archive open to the public.
Comprehensive report presented
The report of the Historical Commission was presented to the public on 29 November 2006. The international and independent Historical Commission of Bank Austria completed its five-year work with a publication entitled “Österreichische Banken und Sparkassen im Nationalsozialismus und in der Nachkriegszeit“ in two volumes with a total of more than 2,000 pages.
Bank Austria sets up historical archive open to the public
Bank Austria has set up a historical archive at its offices in Vienna’s Lassallestrasse. The director of the Bank Austria Historical Archive is Ulrike Zimmerl. One of the objectives is to facilitate research on Austrian banking and business history.