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Austria closes compensation fund Nazi victims

Austria on Tuesday dissolved a fund set up in 2001 to compensate victims of Nazism, saying it had "fully completed its tasks", according to a statement sent to AFP.

Austria's President Alexander Van der Bellen (R) delivers a speech as German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (C) looks on during a ceremony to unveil a monument to the victims of World War II. Sergei GAPON / AFP
Austria's President Alexander Van der Bellen (R) delivers a speech as German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (C) looks on during a ceremony to unveil a monument to the victims of World War II. Sergei GAPON / AFP

“The dissolution of the General Settlement Fund for Victims of National Socialism… marks the completion of one of Austria’s largest-scale projects to provide restitution and compensation for Nazi-seized assets,” it said.

More than 30,000 cases filed by people persecuted by the Nazis or their descendants have been heard.

“The General Settlement Fund made (payments) of $215 million (200 million euros) in total. Around 25,000 beneficiaries received a payment from the General Settlement Fund,” the statement said.

READ ALSO: How descendants of victims of Nazism can apply for Austrian citizenship

The fund was set up to study requests for the return of property acquired legally after the war by local authorities or the Austrian state following the Nazis’ plundering from Jewish people during the country’s annexation to the Third Reich.

More than 2,300 applications were submitted and 140 met the criteria, the fund said in a statement.

Austria, which became a prosperous country in the years following World War II, took the historic decision to set up a fund to compensate victims of Nazism after decades of denial.

It has been the subject of legal action by survivors and their descendants in the United States, who have accused individuals and communities of taking advantage of the plundering to get rich with impunity.

After the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe) led by Joerg Haider, founded by former SS officers, returned to power in 2000, pressure from Washington and its European Union partners to recognise the historic reality and accept the financial consequences intensified.

READ MORE: Russia and Belarus asked not to attend Nazi camp ceremony in Austria

In 2001, an agreement was reached between the United States and Austria in Washington, marking a historic turning point for Adolf Hitler’s country of birth. 

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POLITICS

How much do Austrian politicians earn as a monthly salary?

Politicians in Austria are getting a 5.3 percent salary increase in 2023 as inflation rises in the country. So how much will they earn?

How much do Austrian politicians earn as a monthly salary?

The rising inflation rate, which is expected to be at 10.6 percent in November, is reflected in the salaries of politicians in Austria, according to the official gazette of the Wiener Zeitung.

According to Austrian law, all salaries are calculated based on the income of the members of the National Council, the Austrian Parliament. Next year, they will receive €9,873 gross per month – €497 more than their salaries in 2022. The values were rounded to the whole euro amount. 

READ ALSO: How much do you need to earn for a good life in Austria?

So, how much are the leading politicians going to earn as a monthly gross salary in 2023?

  • Bundespräsident: the head of the Austrian State (Federal President) will earn €26,701 per month. Alexander Van der Bellen was reelected to the position and should stay in the job for six more years
  • Bundeskanzler: the head of the Austrian government (Chancellor) will earn €23,840 per month. That’s the salary of Karl Nehammer (ÖVP), who is expected to run for reelection in the next national elections set for 2024
  • Vizekanzler: the current vice-chancellor is Werner Kögler (Greens), and he is set to earn €20,979 from 2023
  • NR-Präsident: this refers to the leader of the National Council (Nationalrat, in German), who earns €20,026. Wolfgang Sobotka (ÖVP) holds the position
  • Landeshauptleute: this German word literally means “main persons of the province”. (Land means country, but it actually refers to the bundesländer, the country’s states or provinces). These are the current governors of the Austrian provinces, such as Michael Ludwig (SPÖ), mayor of the city-state of Vienna. They’ll earn €19,072 per month
  • Ministerin/Minister: Ministers of the federal government, including Health and Social Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens), will earn €19,072 every month
  • Landesrätin/-rat: the provincial councillors should earn €17,771 every month from 2023
  • Staatssekretärin/-sekretär: State secretaries, who play the part of Ministers in the provincial level, will earn €17,165
  • Bundesratsmitglieder: a “member of the Bundesrat”, which is the upper house in the Austrian parliament, will earn €4,936 per month

READ ALSO: Explained: How to understand your payslip in Austria

In Austria, hired employees are paid 14 times per year, with extra salaries ahead of summer holidays and Christmas.

Unless the National Council decides against the pay rise, the increase will come into effect on January 1st 2023.

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