Seizure of Jewish assets by the state

As of 1933 the basis of livelihood of Germany's Jewish population was systematically eroded. Many customers of Allianz also had to draw on their financial reserves. In most cases they first stopped paying premiums and finally cancelled their policies in order to convert them into cash. They needed the money to cover their daily needs, but also to pay special levies or finance their emigration.


Cover page of an Allianz Leben life insurance policy belonging to a Jewish customer.

In this way a large number of Jewish customers had already surrendered their life insurance policies themselves by 1939. However, if a life insurance policy is cancelled before its maturity date the income of both the insured and the insurance company is reduced. In such cases the surrender value is payable and this was considerably lower than the face amount that would have been payable at the end of the term that had actually been agreed upon. This applied in particular if the policy had only run for a few years so that only few premiums would have been paid.

Statistics show that there was a rapid increase in policies surrendered in 1938 and 1939. After the Pogrom Night of November 1938 both the state and the Nazi party finally went over to the radical plundering of the Jews. Many Jewish customers now instructed their insurers to pay the surrender value of their cancelled policies directly to the tax authorities. In this way they attempted to pay the compulsory state levies and astronomical taxes that were imposed on emigrants.

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