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Jewish Successor Organizations

JEWISH SUCCESSOR ORGANIZATIONS in Germany, organizations for tracing and recovering heirless Jewish property of those Jews who were victims of the Nazis.

Jewish Restitution Successor Organization (JRSO)

The Americans were foremost in setting up a framework, and the first Jewish body for claims in the American Zone, the Jewish Restitution Successor Organization (JRSO), was established in 1948 with offices in Nuremberg. In 1950 a similar body, the Jewish Trust Corporation (JTC), was established in the former British Zone (northwest Germany) with the approval of the British government. Later a separate branch was established in the French Zone. A joint office was created by them for the three sectors of West Berlin.

Where the former Jewish property owner within the American Zone had died without an heir, or where no claim was made, the JRSO was empowered to file claims and apply the proceeds to the relief of needy refugees anywhere in the world. The JRSO also claimed restitution of Jewish communal property. The proceeds served primarily the religious and cultural needs of the surviving communities in West Germany and were then handed over to the general refugee funds. Where an individual claimant subsequently appeared too late to lodge his own claim application, the JRSO, as well as the JTC, adopted an equity procedure for settlement up until Dec. 31, 1958. The American organization recovered by the end of 1967 nearly 200,000,000 DM ($50,000,000) in addition to the immovable property restored to the communities, and the operation was not yet completed. The amount recovered includes the value of property in West Berlin. The overwhelming part of the fund was obtained by a global settlement made with the authorities of the German Laender and of West Berlin, in the areas in which the property was situated or had been confiscated. The authorities were asked to pay a lump sum and, in return, were subrogated to the remainder of the unsettled claims of the organization against German individuals who had acquired the immovable property. The authorities could then make their settlement with the German owner.