Eduard Hilgard and the consequences of the pogrom for the insurance industry

On the morning of 12 November 1938 Eduard Hilgard, head of the Reichsgruppe Versicherung (Reich Association of the Insurance Industry) was ordered to take part in a hurriedly convened meeting at the Reich aviation ministry. Göring described the pogrom as a "far-reaching economic problem", the various aspects of which had to be discussed. Eduard Hilgard, in his capacity as highest representative of the private-sector insurance industry, was called to that part of the conference that dealt with the issue of insurance liability for the material damage of the pogrom. More exact data, such as reliable loss estimates, were not yet available to Hilgard.


Eduard Hilgard took part in the Aviation Ministry session as head of the Reich Insurance Group

Subsequently Göring laid down guidelines for the settlement of claims, the most important being:

  • all claims of non-Jewish claimants and Jewish policyholders with foreign citizenship must be satisfied,
  • all claims of Jewish claimants with German citizenship were abolished by ministerial order.

Following protracted negotiations between the insurers and the ministry administration it was only in August 1939 that a final settlement was adopted. Hilgard had succeeded in considerably reducing the government's claims against the insurance sector. To cover the claims of Jewish policyholders for damage incurred in the Pogrom Night the insurance sector ultimately had to pay a single lump sum of 1.3 million Reichsmarks to the Reich. Claims of foreign policyholders were paid out according to the contracts.


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