Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany (Claims Conference)

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, or Claims Conference, is an umbrella organization established in New York in 1951 by 23 national and international Jewish organizations representing Diaspora Jewish life in the West. Its aims were to obtain funds for the relief, rehabilitation, and resettlement of Jewish victims of Nazi persecution, and the rebuilding of Jewish communal life; and to obtain indemnification for injuries inflicted upon victims of Nazi persecution and restitution for properties confiscated by the Nazis.

The Conference was convened by Dr. Nachum Goldmann, chairman of the Jewish Agency and president of the World Jewish Congress, who was elected its president. The Government of Israel and the Conference opened formal negotiations with the German Federal Republic in March 1952 at The Hague. On September 10, 1952, an agreement was signed in Luxembourg between the West German Government the Conference and the Government of Israel.

The Claims Conference transferred a large portion of their files to the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People in Jerusalem, where they were classified and catalogued. The following is a list of the series by which the files were organized, together with brief descriptions of their contents.

Thematical Order of the Claims Conference Files:

  • Administration & Policy of the Claims Conference
  • Correspondence
  • Finances & Accounting
  • Legislation
  • Applications & Allocations
  • Claims Conference – JDC (Joint) Applications
  • Individual Applications (Personal information, not open to the public)
  • Varia

The detailed inventories are viewable only on the Central Archives’ premises. Researchers wishing to make use of the files must obtain written permission from the Claims Conference office in New York before consulting the files.

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