Adolf Eichmann: Helps Vienna Jews to Facilitate Emigration
(June 12, 1939)
Central Office for Vienna, IV., June 12, 1939
SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Krueger
Ministry for Interior and
Re: Withdrawal of [status as] legally recognized public corporation from the Jewish Community of Vienna.
Proceedings: Conversation between Privy Councillor SS Obersturmbannfuehrer Krueger and SS Hauptsturmfuehrer Eichmann of June 6, 1939.
With reference to the above conversation concerning the withdrawal of status as legally recognized public corporation from the Jewish Community of Vienna, we wish to report the following:
Contrary to the position in Berlin, we were able to arrange back in the middle of last year that the Jewish financial institutions abroad, such as the "Council for German Jewry," the "American Joint Distribution Committee," "Hicem," etc., provide considerable sums in foreign currency for Jewish emigration from Germany, after, on the one hand, the responsible leaders of the Jewish organizations had undergone the appropriate handling, and, on the other, various agreements could be made with the Reich Ministry of Economics. Subsequently, about $1,400,000 was transferred in foreign currency from Paris and London to Vienna. These sums in foreign currency are controlled and administered by the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in cooperation with the Foreign Currency Department in Vienna.
In view of the purpose for which these sums are to be used, the Reich Ministry of Economics has authorized the release of these sums from the required levy and, in addition, permits this foreign currency to be paid to the Jews in the Ostmark [Austria] at unlimited exchange rates.
This foreign currency made it possible, on the one hand, for the emigration of Jews to be carried out, as this currency enabled them to produce the sums required as landing money, and, on the other hand, the requirements of the Jewish organizations in the Ostmark could be financed. (The monthly budget of the Jewish Community in Vienna, for instance, amounted to more than 1,200,000 Reichmarks. For understandable reasons the tax income of the Jewish Community is dropping continuously. At the present time about 36,000 Jews must receive assistance for food, etc., from the Jewish Community, and the whole network of Jewish employees has to be maintained in the interest of speeding the emigration of the Jews, etc.)
With the aid of this income in foreign currency and the resultant funds here, and also through the creation of other, additional opportunities for immigration, it was possible by June 10, 1939, to get 106,672 Jews from the Ostmark to emigrate legally.
As the Jewish organizations abroad would stop further transfers of foreign currency immediately if the Jewish Community in Vienna were to lose its status as a legally recognized public corporation, it is requested that, in view of the resultant consequences and in the interest of continued increased emigration of the Jews from the Ostmark, this cancellation should not be carried out for the time being, and the status quo be maintained or permitted to continue until the end of January 1940. This is particularly so as the organizations abroad are now making difficulties insofar as they take the stand that the 77,000 Jews of Mosaic religion can no longer receive the same sums in foreign currency as were provided for 185,000 Jews of Mosaic religion. Their aim is to reduce the monthly allowance of $100,000 to $50,000 in view of the drop in the number of Jews of Mosaic religion.
I thereupon threatened the Jewish organizations abroad that if they failed to maintain the payments at the level of $100,000, the Jewish Community would immediately lose its rights as a corporation.
The Jewish organizations abroad have in fact been intimidated by this threat, and the sums for May and June were sent to Vienna in full in foreign currency.
Head of the Central Office
for Jewish Emigration
OEsterreichisches Staatsarchiv – Abteilung: Allgemeines Verwaltungsarchiv. Der Reichskommissar fuer die Wiedervereinigung OEsterreichs mit dem Deutschen Reiche (Austrian State Archives – Department: General Administrative Archives. The Reichskommissar for the Reunification of Austria with the German Reich), 1762/1.
Sources: Yad Vashem