Austrian fund for Nazi victims now fully endowed

Austria's restitution fund for Nazi victims has been fully endowed, with the federal government, the city of Vienna and Austrian industries all meeting their multimillion dollar commitments, fund officials said Thursday. In a statement, the officials said Austria contributed US$60 million, Vienna US$35 and Austrian companies US$115 to fully stock the fund as of Wednesday. Austria began the process late last year of compensating Holocaust victims robbed under the Nazis, mailing notifications to the first of the 19,300 survivors who have applied and are eligible for payments. The fund was created by Austria in 2001 to compensate those stripped of businesses, property, bank accounts and insurance policies under the Third Reich. Earlier this year, the government and Austrian companies pledged to pay US$210 million to endow the fund once all Holocaust litigation against Austria was resolved. Payments had been delayed because of pending legal action in the United States. That hurdle was cleared last month when a New York court threw out sections of a class-action lawsuit targeting Austria late last year.