JTC Branche Française

In the French Zone of occupation the right to claim heirless and unclaimed Jewish property was originally vested by the French authorities in the Länder governments, and the proceeds were used for general indemnification purposes. In September 1951 the rights of the Länder were abrogated. In March 1952 the French Haut Commissaire for Germany appointed a specially created department of the JTC, the so-called Branche Française (French Branch of the Jewish Trust Corporation), as the Jewish successor organization for the French Zone. The branch was fully autonomous. It had its seat in Paris and was directed by its own Conseil d'Administration. The operational head office was in Mainz. In January 1953 a regional office was established in Freiburg, which was closed by the end of August that year. The activity of the main office gradually declined as well.

The deadline for claiming property was April 30, 1953, and the branch was limited to claims on such property as had not already been adjudicated with the Länder governments. As with the other two zones the Branche Francaise also had the right to claim the property of the former Jewish communities and their institutions, even though the major part of the former Jewish communal property had already been restituted to the newly established Jewish communities or institutions beforehand. The total amount recovered by the end of 1967 was 27,550,000 DM (approx. $6,888,000).

The CAHJP hold files claiming restitution for personal as well as communal property from the head office in Mainz and the regional office in Freiburg. The files regarding the property of the former Jewish communities and their institutions are open to the public, while the personal files are still closed in order to protect privacy rights.

Sources:

  • Encyclopedia Judaica online edition.
  • C.I. Kapralik, Reclaiming the Nazi Loot. The History of the Work of the Jewish Trust Corporation for Germany, London 1962.
  • Nana Sagi, German Reparations. A History of the Negotiations, Jerusalem 1980.

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