Utilization for the benefit of the victims of National Socialism

In compliance with its special responsibility towards the victims of National Socialism, the National Fund has the legal mandate to utilize objects which were transferred to it because neither the former owners nor their heirs could be found.

The proceeds for the utilization of the art objects are to be used pursuant to Sec. 2a of the National Fund Law. According to this provision, the recipients of these proceeds are persons who suffered damages or losses due to direct persecution by the National Socialist regime, so long as it was related to Austria. Moreover, projects providing help and assistance to victims of the National Socialist regime can also be supported, particularly communities severely affected by National Socialist persecution.

Objects from the Austrian National L­ibrary which have remained heirless

On 1st June 2010, during a commemorative ceremony at the Austrian National Library, the National Fund symbolically accepted three of 8,363 books seized during the National Socialist era, the previous owners of which were, despite intensive research, no longer able to be determined.

During its 48th session on 11th September 2009, the Art Restitution Advisory Board for the first time recommended that these publications, which had remained heirless, be transferred to the National Fund in order that they could be utilized appropriately.

The objects subject of the recommendation are so called ownerless publications which had come into the possession of the Austrian National Library via the Gestapo (Secret State Police).

After the ceremonial transfer, the books were repurchased by the National Library for 135,000 Euros. The proceeds from these one-time looted books will be used to benefit survivors of the Holocaust in accordance with the provisions of the National Fund Law. The books will remain in the holdings of the National Library; however the origins of the books will be indicated in the catalogue.