The “Holocaust Victims Assistance Act” was established to ensure that the potential and actual insurance claims, actual financial claims, and the assets and property of holocaust victims and their heirs and beneficiaries be expeditiously identified and properly paid, compensated, or returned.
Since 1998, the Florida Department of Financial Services has been providing assistance to Florida Holocaust survivors seeking to recover proceeds from insurance policies issued to Holocaust victims and restitution for Nazi-confiscated bank accounts, art and property. Although many of the deadlines have passed for submitting claims to compensation programs, it may be possible to submit a claim directly with the financial institution or with remaining open restitution funds. The Florida Department of Financial Services provides education and assistance to Holocaust survivors regarding restitution programs from Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, France, Austria, Hungary and other countries. Information and assistance is also provided to individuals seeking access to much needed home health care services.
Do you need assistance with filing a Holocaust era financial claim or assistance in obtaining social welfare services?
Below are four ways to get in touch with our program so that we can help you.
Please send inquiries to HolocaustAssistance@myfloridacfo.com
Florida Department of Financial Services
Holocaust Victims Assistance Program
200 East Gaines Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399
In 1998, the Florida Legislature enacted section 626.9543, Florida Statutes, the Holocaust Victims Insurance Act, and in 2013 an amendment was enacted that changed the name from the Holocaust Victims Insurance Act to the Holocaust Victims Assistance Act (“the Act”) and created a commensurate expansion in the scope of the Act. The Department’s administrative rule for the implementation of this statute is Rule 69J-137.010, Florida Administrative Code.
The Administrative Rule, requires Insurers to file a new Holocaust era claims report to the Department of Financial Services if there are any changes to a previous report or if requested to do so by the Department. Insurers are required to provide any additional information regarding unpaid Holocaust claims no later than December 31 of each year. If the insurance company takes any action or discovers any information that changes information filed in a previous report, a new report is required to be submitted. If there has been “no change” in any information since the previous report was submitted, an insurance company is not required to file a new report.
Holocaust Fee Waiver Program: The Florida Department of Financial Services assists survivors in obtaining wire transfer fee waivers on all European reparation payments. An estimated 12,500 Holocaust survivors and their families in Florida were being assessed an international wire transfer fee, ranging from $10 to $40 per transaction. Currently, 23 financial institutions in Florida are participating in the Fee Waiver Program and have agreed to waive the wire transfer fee on reparation payments. Survivors who are being assessed an international wire transfer fee from a European settlement fund are encouraged to seek assistance from our office.
To send inquiries by email: FeeWaiverHelp@myfloridacfo.com
Unpaid Holocaust Era Insurance Policies: Since 1998, the Florida Department of Financial Services has been assisting Holocaust survivors in pursuing unpaid Holocaust era insurance policies. The Chief Financial Officer of the State of Florida served as a member of the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC). The goal of the Commission was to establish a uniform procedure to investigate and resolve all Holocaust era claims and to provide humanitarian funding to assist Holocaust survivors. ICHEIC received more than 90,000 claims eligible for processing. More than 48,000 of these claims received an offer or award through the ICHEIC process. A total of $306.2 million was offered or awarded to more than 48,000 claimants as a result of the ICHEIC process at no cost to claimants. ICHEIC concluded its efforts on March 30, 2007; however, all of the participating European insurance companies pledged to continue to process claims that were sent to them directly. For additional information on recovering financial proceeds from a Holocaust era insurance policy, please contact us at 1-800-388-4069.
ICHEIC Claimant Film: The Florida Department of Financial Services assisted ICHEIC in producing an eight minute film featuring the stories of three Florida Holocaust survivors and the positive resolution of their European insurance claims through ICHEIC.
To view the film or obtain additional information on the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims visit www.icheic.org.
Bank Claims: The Florida Department of Financial Services has been instrumental in assisting Florida Holocaust survivors in receiving deposited assets from Austria through the General Settlement Fund (GSF). Although the GSF and many other restitution funds are no longer accepting applications, if you have reason to believe your family has an unpaid bank account or financial proceeds it may be possible to submit a claim directly to the financial institution. For additional information about the $1.25 billion Swiss Banks Settlement visit www.swissbankclaims.com or if you would like to discuss a potential bank claim please contact us at 1-800-388-4069.
Art Claims: Individuals seeking assistance with locating artwork that was stolen, sold under duress or lost between 1933 and 1945 can call the Holocaust Victims Assistance Program for guidance in finding the missing artwork. Helpful websites with databases of lost and stolen art can be found at:
Art Loss Register - www.artloss.com
Lost Art Internet Database - www.lostart.de
Looted Art - www.lootedart.com
Art Database of National Fund - www.kunstrestitution.at
Pensions for Holocaust Survivors from European Countries:
The Czech Republic administers a restitution program through the Czech Social Security Administration for those who participated in the resistance movement during World War II. Through this program Holocaust survivors are eligible to receive a lump sum payment. For more information, contact the Czech Social Security Administration at http://www.cssz.cz/en/contacts.
France has established a new compensation fund for Holocaust victims who were deported from France and who were not entitled to make claims under the French government’s existing compensation program. The United States is responsible for administering and distributing the settlement amount to eligible claimants. All claims must be submitted by May 31, 2016. Questions may be directed to DeportationClaims@state.gov or 1(202)776-8385 , or visit their website at http://www.state.gov/p/eur/rt/hlcst/deportationclaims/index.htm. Even if you do not qualify for this program, you may qualify for compensation through existing French Holocaust deportation programs, including the French Pension Program and the French Orphans Program. Information about these programs can be found at: http://holocaust-compensation-france.memorialdelashoah.org/en/index_engl.html.
The Commission for the Compensation of Victims of Spoliation (CIVS) located in France processes claims on all financial assets and property (frozen accounts, dormant accounts, life insurance policies, works of art, etc.) confiscated under the anti-Semetic laws introduced during the Second World War. All claimants are entitled to apply to the Commission regardless of his or her current country of residence. For more information on French Looted Property and Assets/French Orphans visit www.civs.gouv.fr.
Germany payments directly from the German government include:
German Government Ghetto Fund (BADV): A one-time payment paid directly by the German government to people who worked, at will and for pay, in a ghetto. For more information visit www.claimscon.org/what-we-do/compensation/germany-payments/ghetto-fund/badv-how-to-apply/.
German Social Security/Ghetto Pension (ZRBG): A Social Security pension paid directly by the German government to people who worked, at will and for pay, in a ghetto. For more information visit www.claimscon.org/what-we-do/compensation/germany-payments/zrbg/apply/.
West German Federal Indemnification Law (BEG): Ongoing pensions for victims of Nazi persecution paid directly by the German government. For more information visit www.claimscon.org/what-we-do/compensation/germany-payments/beg/offices/.
Poland administers a program for victims of persecution (living outside of Poland) to receive monthly payments. For more information visit The Office for War Veterans and Victims of Oppression at www.udskior.gov.pl/.
Conference on Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference): Various reparation programs provide compensation for victims of Nazi persecution, particularly for those in financial need. Eligibility for these programs is often dependent upon a combination of factors, including the survivor’s original country of residence, current country of residence, the type of persecution endured and the amount of previously received compensation. For additional information, call (212) 696-4944 or visit their website at: www.claimscon.org.
Holocaust and War Victims Tracing and Information Center of the American Red Cross: Free service that assists persons seeking documentation of their Holocaust experiences and fates of family members missing since the Holocaust and its aftermath. Contact www.redcross.org.
The following resources provide home health care assistance and financial assistance:
Jewish Community Service of South Florida
18999 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 200
Aventura, FL 33180
Goodman JFS of Broward
100 S. Pine Island Road, Suite 230
Plantation, Florida 33324
Ruth & Norman Rales Jewish Family Services
21300 Ruth & Baron Coleman Boulevard
Boca Raton, FL 33428
Ferd & Gladys Alpert Jewish Family & Children’s Services
5841 Corporate Way, Suite 200
West Palm Beach, FL 33422
Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services
14041 Icot Boulevard
Clearwater, FL 33760