Die Presse (05/19/2005)
The results of the Historical Commission now appear in book form
Vienna - Some 160 researchers, 49 volumes, 17,000 pages, 50 pounds, and 8 feet: The written results of the Historical Commission concerning stolen property by the National Socialists and restitution measures have not only set quantitative but also qualitative records. The reports, which were published in book form two years following their initial presentation, represent the most critically assembled review of the NS era and its aftermath.
One result of the initially published interim reports led to the negotiations on NS restitution. While the disbursement of financial payments to forced and slave laborers has been completed in accordance with the agreement of 2000, the 2002 Washington Agreement involving restitution for victims of NS confiscated property and financial assets has not yet been achieved. On the one hand, class action suits are still pending in the United States that are preventing legal peace; on the other hand, researching the individual applications submitted for restitution payments is proving to be extremely tough. Nonetheless, when these two matters are finally settled, the disbursement of payments can begin.
The Historical Commission’s president, Clemens Jabloner, used the presentation by Federal President Heinz Fischer as an appeal to quickly act on the outstanding restitution solution: "Only when the victims receive their money, will one be able to say that we have achieved a direct effect."
Publications by the Austrian Historical Commission: Oldenburg Publishing House, 27 volumes, 2,516 Euros; single volumes are available through the website: www.oldenbourg.at