HCPO Frequently Asked Questions
Who can file a claim with the HCPO?
- Anyone with reason to believe that assets – bank accounts, insurance policies, and/or works of art – belonging to them or to a relative currently remain dormant, unpaid, or lost as result of Nazi persecution between January 1, 1933 and May 9, 1945 may submit a claim to the HCPO.
Are only residents of New York State eligible for the services of the HCPO?
- No, you do not have to be a resident of New York State to seek our assistance.
- The HCPO accepts claims from any state or from any country.
What types of claims can be filed with the HCPO?
- The HCPO accepts claims for bank accounts, insurance policies, and/or works of art.
Can I file a claim with the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims (ICHEIC)?
- On March 30, 2007 ICHEIC officially closed, therefore it is no longer possible to submit a claim to ICHEIC.
What if I recognize a name on the policyholder list published by the ICHEIC?
- ICHEIC recognized that individuals may be interested in accessing the previously published list of potential Holocaust-era insurance policyholders. This list can therefore be accessed through Yad Vashem.
- A name match does guarantee that the individual named or his or her heirs or beneficiaries would have qualified for payment under ICHEIC guidelines had they filed a timely claim. For example, there may be instances where policies were issued to individuals with common names that might not necessarily be the individual you are searching for.
Is there anywhere else I can submit an insurance claim?
- Claims can be submitted directly to some insurance companies and ICHEIC partners. At ICHEIC’s concluding meetings, every company that was a member of the commission as well as companies of the German Insurance Association, through its partnership agreement with ICHEIC and the Sjoa Foundation reaffirmed their commitment to continue to review and process claims sent directly to them.
- At this point, the HCPO continues to assist individuals with potential claims for unpaid insurance policies. The HCPO will endeavor to determine whether or not an individual may be eligible to submit a claim directly to an insurance company.
Can I file a claim with the Claims Resolution Tribunal (CRT)?
- The deadline to file a claim related to the names and/or accounts appearing on the CRT list have lapsed, therefore it is no longer possible to file a claim with the CRT.
How was the dormant account list published by the Claims Resolution Tribunal (CRT) compiled?
- In February 2001, the Claims Resolution Tribunal (CRT) published the names of the owners of approximately 21,000 accounts that probably or possibly belonged to victims of Nazi persecution.
- In January 2005, the CRT published approximately 2,700 additional names of Account Owners and approximately 400 additional names of Power of Attorney holders of accounts probably or possibly belonging to Victims of Nazi Persecution.
What if I recognize a name on the dormant account list published by the Claims Resolution Tribunal (CRT)?
- The previously published lists of names of Account Owners and names of Power of Attorney Holders appear on the CRT website for informational purposes only.
- A name match does guarantee that the individual named or his or her heirs or beneficiaries would have qualified for payment under CRT guidelines had they filed a timely claim. For example, there may be instances where the account was held by an individual with a common name that might not necessarily be the individual you are searching for.
- Please keep in mind, a name match does not necessarily mean that the listed owners of accounts in Swiss banks were Nazi Victims. Nor does it necessarily mean these owners did not have deposited funds returned to them or that their accounts were not treated appropriately by the banks where the deposits were made. The accounts which have been identified as dormant in Switzerland are not limited to those belonging to Holocaust victims. They belong to persons of all nationalities and religions and some have been dormant since before the Holocaust.
Is there anywhere I can submit a claim for a dormant bank account?
- At this point, the HCPO continues to assist individuals with potential claims for dormant bank accounts. The HCPO will endeavor to determine whether or not an individual may be eligible to submit a claim directly to a bank.
What information is needed when I submit a claim for a cultural object(s)?
- The object(s) you are seeking to recover must be unique and identifiable on the open market.
- Helpful information may include inventory lists, photographs, and insurance or museum records.
- Unlike claims for bank accounts and insurance policies, there is no single venue to file a claim for lost cultural objects and works of art. Instead the HCPO must research each object individually, find the looted object and establish a documented history of ownership.
Where can I get assistance with other types of claims not handled by the Holocaust Claims Processing Office (HPCO)?
- Access the Compensation Guide to Worldwide Compensation and Restitution Programs for Eligible Jewish Victims of Nazi Persecution, available on the website of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
Does it cost anything to file a claim with the HCPO?
- No. Claimants pay no fee for the HCPO’s services, nor does the HCPO take a percentage of the value of the assets recovered.
What is the difference between the HCPO and the private entities accepting claims?
- The HCPO works as a bridge between claimants and the various international compensation organizations and/or the current holder(s) of the asset be it a bank account, insurance policy or artwork.
- Claimants pay no fee for the HCPO’s services, nor does the HCPO take a percentage of the value of the assets recovered.
- Our goal is to advocate for claimants by helping to alleviate any cost and bureaucratic hardships they might encounter in trying to pursue claims on their own.
What happens after I file my claim to the HCPO?
- After assessing the viability of a claim, the HCPO strives to document the prewar ownership, wartime loss and a claimant’s postwar entitlement to an asset.
- HCPO staff members undertake three types of research: (1) genealogical; (2) archival research for prewar, wartime, and postwar records; and (3) the search for the missing objects, provenance research being one component of this effort.
- Once all of the HCPO’s research is complete, and the missing asset has been located, our role changes from that of detective to advocate and facilitator.
- At this stage the HCPO submits claim information to the appropriate companies, authorities, museums, or organizations with the request that a complete and thorough search be made.
Can the HCPO guarantee the return of my assets?
- Unfortunately, the HCPO cannot guarantee the recovery of assets. It is important to realize that the submission of a claim does not in any way ensure the return of any assets.