The Law on the Creation of a Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future" was passed on 2 August 2000 with the support of all parliamentary parties in the German Bundestag. It came into effect on 12 of August 2000 and provided for individual humanitarian payments to be made to former slave and forced labourers and other victims of National Socialism.
The disbursement of these payments commenced in 2001 and was completed in 2007. EUR 358 million of the Foundation’s capital was allocated to a grant-giving foundation in order to provide project funding. Around EUR 8 million is generated by the Foundation’s capital each year. The Foundation uses this income primarily to support international programmes and projects in the following activity areas: A critical examination of history, Working for human rights, and Commitment to the victims of National Socialism.

The pathway to the establishment of the EVZ Foundation

After the end of the Second World War, former forced laborers mostly were not included in compensation programs by the Federal Republic of Germany. 

The issue became a priority of the political agenda after 1990, when a number of class action lawsuits were brought on behalf of survivors of forced labor against German companies in the United States.
As a result, German companies and the German Government entered into negotiations about a compensation scheme that would explicitly address forced labor. After several rounds of international negotiations an agreement was reached to implement a large compensation program which was to be carried out by the EVZ Foundation. 

Facts and figures

  • Original capital of the Foundation: DEM 10.1 billion (approx. EUR 5.2 billion)
  • Of that sum, DEM 5.1 billion (approx. EUR 2.6 billion) was raised through contributions by German companies. The remaining DEM 5 billion was provided by the German Government.
  • Altogether around 6,500 German companies, many of which did not exist during the National Socialist era, contributed to the funding of the EVZ Foundation.
  • The major portion of the overall sum, almost DEM 8.7 billion (approx. EUR 4.4 billion) was distributed by partner organizations to 1,67 million surviving forced laborers in the form of individual lump-sum payments.
  • A total of EUR 358 million was set aside for the work of the grant-giving Foundation. This enables us to provide funding of around EUR 8 million each year until today. 

Distribution of the payment amounts

Partner organisationNumber of beneficiariesPayment amount (EUR)
Belarus; of which
– Belarus
– Estonia
129,000

120,000
9,000

345 million

325 million
21 million

International Organization for Migration (IOM)
90,000386 million
Jewish Claims Conference (JCC)159,0001.149 million
Poland484,000979 million
Russia: of which
– Russia
– Latvia
– Lithuania
– CIS
256,000
228,000
13,000
12,000
3,000
426 million
380 million
23 million
18 million
5 million
Czech Republic76,000210 million
Ukraine471,000 867 million
Total1,665,0004.4 billion

Funding within the three fields of activity

The funding programs of the EVZ Foundation are grouped into three fields of activity

  • A Critical examination of history
  • Working for human rights
  • Commitment to the victims of National Socialism

 

Project funding since 2001 was distributed as follows:

 

2001-2019
A critical examination of history:
2,588 projects with EUR 46.77 million
Working for human rights:
1,509 projects with EUR 43.42 Million
Commitment to the victims of National Socialism:
1,213 projects with EUR 54,32 Million

Annual funding activities since 2001