Jewish Restitution Successor Organization (JRSO)

The first Successor Organization, the Jewish Restitution Successor Organization (JRSO), was set up by the American administration in June 1948. The first office was established in Nuremberg. JRSO was appointed directly by the American Military Government and not by the Länder, and was composed of 13 Jewish organizations.

If a former Jewish property owner within the American Zone died without leaving heirs, or if 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 property of Jewish communities, organizations and institutions. The proceeds primarily served the religious, cultural and welfare needs of the re-established communities in West Germany and the remainder was handed over to the general refugee funds.

By the end of 1967, the American organization had recovered nearly 200 million DM (50 million US dollars) in addition to immovable property restored to the communities, and the operation was not yet completed. The amount recovered included the value of property in West Berlin. The overwhelming portion of the money was obtained by global settlements reached with the authorities of the German States (Länder) and of West Berlin. The authorities were asked to pay a lump sum and, in return, were entitled to claim the value of properties which had been acquired by individual Germans.

In the first years of the organization's activities there were 11 regional offices (most probably: Frankfurt, Berlin, Nuremberg, Kassel, Munich, Schweinfurt, Karlsruhe, Essen, Bremen, Mannheim, Stuttgart) in the American Zone of Germany, of which four were still functioning by 1953 (Frankfurt, Berlin, Karlsruhe, Stuttgart). Most of the files of the offices which closed were transferred to the JRSO Office in Frankfurt. The offices in Frankfurt and Berlin were active till the 1970s.

The CAHJP hold administration files from the JRSO New York, Frankfurt and Berlin offices, as well as personal and community files from the various offices. They were shipped from Frankfurt, Berlin and New York to Jerusalem between 1975 and 1979. The administration and community files in the CAHJP are open to the public, while the personal files are still closed in order to protect privacy rights.

Files concerning Cultural Property see Daat-Hamakom

Sources:

  • Encyclopedia Judaica online edition.
  • Nana Sagi, German Reparations. A History of the Negotiations, Jerusalem 1980.
  • Roland W. Zweig, German Reparations and the Jewish World. A History of the Claims Conference, 2nd edition, London 2001.

This archival project has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.