Liquidation of Jewish enterprises (1941-1942)

Glossary

The liquidation of Jewish enterprises

The liquidation of Jewish enterprises was a part of the process of the "elimination of the Jews from the economic and social life" of the war - time Slovak state (1939 – 1945). The first liquidations of enterprises were carried out indirectly by the Regulation of the Slovak government No. 40/1939 Coll. which revoked about 500 trade licenses in inns bars enterprises which belonged to Jewish owners. Another 700 licenses were revoked by the Regulation of the Government No. 169/1939 Coll.

On April 25, 1940, the Slovak Diet adopted the Act No. 113/1940 Coll. on Jewish enterprises and Jews employed in enterprises, known as the "First Aryanization Act." The Act defined the conditions of the transfer of Jewish property to Non-Jewish owners, i.e. "aryanization" (based on the contemporary term "Aryan")

The enterprises which were not selected for aryanization, were liquidated. The § 3 of the Act provided that: "the County Authority shall revise the trade licenses of the Jews and revoke these, upon finding that reasoned objections from the point of public interest exist against the owner or cause shall be found which necessitate the removal of the economically unhealthy influence." The § 4 provided that the liquidation of such enterprise was to be carried out until three months after the delivery of the liquidation which was issued by the County Authority or the Ministry of Economy.

The Act No. 113/1940 Coll. was only valid for three months (until September 1940). During this period, in its intentions, 229 Jewish enterprises were liquidated.

The Slovak Diet, adopting the Constitutional Act No. 210/1940 Coll. of September 3, 1940 entitled the Slovak government to "take every measures necessary for the exclusion of the Jews from the Slovak economic and social life and to transfer the property of the Jews into the ownership of the Christians" (§1 sect. a, sect. b)

The Regulation No. 222/1940 Coll. of September 16, 1940 created the Central Economic Office (ÚHÚ), led by Augustín Morávek. Its prerogative was to, "based on specific regulations, to take every necessary steps for the exclusion of the Jews from the Slovak economic and social life and for the transfer of the Jewish property into the ownership of the Christians.(§2, sect. 1) The ÚHÚ took over the responsibilities of the County authorities and the Ministry of Economy in the process of the exclusion of the Jews. The decisions, made by the ÚHÚ, were final (§4, sect. 1).

On November 30, 1940, the government of Slovak republic issued the Regulation No. 303/1940 Coll. on Jewish Enterprises (known also as the "Second Aryanization Act") The § 5 provided: "The Central Economic Office shall, in order to exclude the Jews and Jewish associations from the Slovak economic and social life, order the liquidation of a Jewish enterprise, the transfer of a Jewish enterprise or of a Jewish association to a Non-Jew or a Non-Jewish Association... The § 9 empowered the ÚHÚ to set the conditions and the means of the liquidation, possibly also diverting from the regulations that governed the liquidation. The same paragraph provided that the decision about the liquidation of the enterprise was to be published in the Official Newspaper, "on the expense of the owner of the enterprise."

On August 5, 1941, the Chair of the ÚHÚ Augustín Morávek issued the regulation No. 333/1941 on General Conditions and Means of Liquidation of Jewish Property by the means of the Liquidators. The § 2 provided that a liquidator had to seize the property belonging to the enterprise. The seizure was prescribed to be "swift, surprising and effective, so that the values would not escape."

Immediately after the delivery of the liquidation order the liquidator was obliged to obtain the keys to the enterprise from the owner and compile a list of mobile property. The values of the objects were to be listed in the so-called A-list. The B-list featured goods and materials found at the site of the enterprise. The technical appliances were listed in the C-list and the D-list comprised mobile property which did not belong to the owner of the enterprise (borrowed, rented, etc.). The E - list comprised the assets (drafts, CODs).

The legal claims of the enterprise of personal or material character (patents, licenses, usage rights) were listed on the F - list.

The liquidator subsequently converted the enlisted movable property to cash and deposited it on a blocked account in a banking institution. These resources were used to satisfy the demands of the creditors and for the payment of the liquidator's due which was set at the 20% of the value of the enterprise, but not more than 6,000 Ks. The liquidator prepared a report on the liquidation and presented it to the Central Economic Office.

Liquidation Deadline

The period, starting from the day of the delivery, later from the date of the decision on the liquidation. The actual liquidation of the enterprise was to be performed within this period. The length of the liquidation period varied. The former three months (Act No. 113/1940 Coll.) were shortened to 15 or even 8 days after the proclamation of the liquidation in the Official Newspaper (based on the decree of the ÚHÚ No. 333/1940).

Liquidator

An officially appointed person who was, after the taking? of a prescribed oath, empowered to carry out the liquidation of an enterprise. The conclusion of a liquidation entitled the liquidator to a due payment.

Aryanization

The transfer of Jewish property to the Non-Jewish (in the contemporary terms, the "Aryans") The aryanization applied to enterprises, houses and apartments as well as agricultural property, bank accounts and other. The Nation's Memory Institute, in the first phase of research, focuses on the aryanization of enterprises. The aryanization of enterprises was regulated by a few legal norms, issued in Slovakia during 1939 - 1942. The beginning of the aryanization process of enterprises may be found in the naming of the trustees and temporary administrators of the industrial, commercial and handcraft enterprises (Regulation of the government No. 137/1940 Coll. and subsequent amendments), which aimed to prepare the people, ready to aryanize an enterprise for starting their new enterprises.

In April 1940, the Act No. 113/1940 Coll. (in power since June 1st, 1940) on Jewish enterprises and and Jews Employed in Enterprises (the so - called First Aryanization Act) was adopted. It defined a "Jewish enterprise" and ordered that "Jewish enterprises" were marked by signs, and set conditions for the transfer of Jewish enterprises into the ownership of the Non-Jewish. (i.e. the aryanization) and for the liquidation. The Act defined full (the transfer of the whole enterprise to the new owner) or partial aryanization (the former owner was allowed to retain shares in the enterprise). To decide whether to aryanize an enterprise was a prerogative of the County Authorities and the Ministry of Economy. The so - called "voluntary aryanization" (aryanization based on a contract between the former owner and the aryanizer with the settling of the shares in the enterprise) was also provided for. The aryanization did not apply to factories. About 50 enterprises were aryanized in application the Act 113/1940. Coll.

The political changes in Slovakia in the summer of 1940 and the strengthening of the radicals on the Slovak political scene also radicalized the process of aryanization. The Slovak Diet, by the Constitutional Act No. 210/1940 Coll. gave up its influence in the process of "eliminating the Jews from the economic and social life" and empowered the government to carry out the necessary measures in this process. The Central Economic Office was created. It took over the aryanization agenda in enterprises into its exclusive agency. New legal norms, regulating the aryanization, were issued. The aryanization of the enterprises was governed by the Regulation of Government No. 303/1940 Coll. on Jewish Enterprises. This regulation facilitated for forced aryanization only and subjected also factories to aryanization. The share of the former owner under the procedure of partial aryanization (the shares of the former owner were successively lowered. On April 1st, 1942, the share of the Jews in enterprise property in Slovakia ceased to exist. The aryanizators were given a deadline of 120 days after the delivery of the decision on the aryanization of an enterprise to pay the sum, equal to the liquidation (or the so-called general value) onto the account of the former owner which had been blocked by the state. These provisions were incorporated into the Regulation No. 198/1941 Coll. of September 9, 1941 on the Legal Position of the Jews, known also as the "Jewish Codex. The legal norms also ordered transfer of immovable property belonging to the enterprises.

The aryanization of the enterprises went on in chaos. The value of the enterprises (the liquidation or the general value) which the aryanizators were obliged to pay for the overtaken enterprise, was settled by the Central Economic Office. In practice, this value was only assessed slowly by the Office. In no case, the full value of the aryanized enterprise was ever payed. The state suffered enormous economic losses by the aryanization and by the fact that many of the aryanizators led their enterprises to bankruptcy (in connection with the debt of other subjects).

In 1940, about 12 300 Jewish enterprises existed in Slovakia. About 2,300 of these were aryanized, about 10,000 enterprises were liquidated.

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