This German act provided for compensation for spoliations of furniture, jewelry, precious metals and merchandise committed under the so-called “Action Meubles” measures. These spoliations, which occurred between February 1, 1942 and the end of 1944 in France, Belgium and the Netherlands, involved the transfer to Germany of personal property belonging to Jews.
Claimants, who could be represented by the Fonds Social Juif Unifié (FSJU—United Jewish Welfare Fund) or by the Comité de Défense des Spoliés (CDS—Committee for the Defense of Victims of Spoliation), had to submit a claim to Berlin. The FSJU was responsible for investigating these claims for France. In June 1959, a simplified procedure was implemented.—The FSJU’s Expert Committee then began to examine each case file in order to demonstrate that the spoliation had occurred under the Action Meubles campaign, check whether compensation had been paid, and calculate the claim amount.
Two calculation methods were used: “actual value” and, far more often, the payment scale. For furniture contained in an apartment, the compensation amount was calculated based on the number of rooms, the number of people living in the apartment and the building category, or on the amount of the insurance policy. Payment scales also existed for other types of property. The compensation amount could be set by the Expert Committee without using these payment scales if the claimant provided proof and a description of the looted property (list of jewelry, paintings, etc.).
Those eligible under this new procedure were exempt from having to show proof, as required by federal law, that their property had been transported to West Germany or to Berlin. The German authorities agreed to assume that 80% of the personal property taken from France between January 1942 and August 1944 had been transported there.
The standards and classifications used for the payment of war damage were adopted for estimating looted property under the Brüg Act. Compensation was therefore paid at 80% of that payment scale, with a deduction of 80% of the sums already collected under the law of October 28, 1946 when such compensation had been paid.
An exceptional procedure was introduced in 1964. The so-called “special hardships” procedure was aimed in particular at claimants who had abandoned the procedure because of its complexity. However, the replacement value of looted property was limited to not more than 8,000 DM for furniture and 2,000 DM for jewelry and precious metal items. When property had been looted from several members of the same family, this value could be increased by 20% for the spouse and 10% per child under the age of 21. Actual compensation did not exceed two-thirds of the value thus calculated.