Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
Deadline set for schemes compensating victims of WWII property confiscation
A deadline of 31 March 2023 has been set for making claims under 2 schemes compensating people who had assets confiscated during World War II.
- Final claims for compensation under the Enemy Property and Baltic States Schemes must be lodged by 31 March 2023
- since 1999, the schemes have considered over 1,300 claims, paying out over £23 million to successful claimants
- after decades in operation, the schemes now only receive a very small number of claims each year and have reached their natural conclusion
The UK government recently (23 September 2022) announced a deadline for making claims under 2 schemes compensating people who had assets confiscated during World War II.
Under the Trading with the Enemy Act 1939, the UK government confiscated assets in British territories owned by residents of enemy countries during World War II. This included residents of the former Nazi Germany, Italy and Japan and countries occupied by them.
Under the Enemy Property Payment Scheme, the Enemy Property Claims Assessment Panel (EPCAP) has been compensating individuals who suffered Nazi persecution and had their assets confiscated. The Panel also oversee the Baltic States Scheme, which compensates asset owners who resided in Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania.
For both schemes, final compensation claims must be lodged with the EPCAP Secretariat by 31 March 2023.
Compensation under the schemes was intended for people directly affected by the Trading with the Enemy Act 1939 or their close heirs. The Enemy Property Payment Scheme now only receives a small number of claims each year and there have been no claims under the Baltic States Scheme since 2013. Other comparable compensation schemes across Europe concluded their operations many years ago.
The recent announcement follows a consultation launched last January to determine the appropriate date for the closure of the schemes.
To be eligible under the Enemy Property Payments Scheme, the owner of the UK asset at the time of confiscation or the claimant (who must prove their relationship to the owner) must have suffered Nazi persecution.
The Baltic States Scheme applies to any resident of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania who had deposited assets in the UK before the War. Under this scheme, Nazi persecution is not essential for the return of the original confiscated asset.
Individuals who believe that they or a direct relation may have held or deposited assets in the UK that were then confiscated by the UK government are encouraged to contact the EPCAP Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For more information and to make a claim please refer to the EPCAP publicity notice or via the Make a claim under the enemy property compensation schemes page
- following the previous worldwide notification in 2016 a further 24 claims have been lodged under the Enemy Property Payments Scheme, an average of 4 per year.
- the government recognises the problems faced by some potential claimants in obtaining evidence to support claims due to COVID-19, including backlogs caused at National Archives across Europe. To enable claimants to substantiate their claims, the Department will accept partially completed claims as at 31 March 2023 where an asset has been identified as being available for release, where a claimant has been identified and evidence provided of their identity and legal entitlement to the asset, and if claimants are represented by a third party, a power of attorney must have been granted to the representative
- all claims received by 31 March 2023 will be assessed by the existing EPCAP Panel through to their conclusion. Terms of reference for the schemes are available
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