Property Transaction Office 

other names: Arisierungsbüro (Aryanization office) (before 18 May 1938), Abwicklungsstelle der Vermögensverkehrsstelle (Processing Department of the Property Transaction Office) (15 November 1939–31 December 1943), Referat III-E des Reichsstatthalters in Wien (Section III-E of the Reichsstatthalter in Vienna) (from 1 January 1943)

superior authorities:
Ministerium für Wirtschaft und Arbeit (Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labour)
Staatliche Verwaltung des Reichsgaues Wien (State Administration of the Reichsgau of Vienna)
Reichsstatthalter in Wien (Reichsstatthalter in Vienna)

The "uncontrolled Aryanization" that took place in Austria immediately after the annexation to the National Socialist German Reich grew to such proportions that the Nazi regime felt obliged to take countermeasures. Initial attempts to channel the spontaneous looting to the Nazi treasury and to rein in the uncontrolled personal enrichment were announced in the Durchführungsbestimmungen zur Bestellung kommissarischer Verwalter (Implementation provisions on the appointment of temporary administrators) of 29 March 1938 and the Gesetz über die Bestellung von kommissarischen Verwaltern und kommissarischen Überwachungspersonen (Law on the Appointment of Temporary Administrators and Supervisors) of 13 April 1938. These legal provisions meant that kommissarische VerwalterInnen (temporary administrators) who had taken up office after 10 March 1938 had to report on their activities, and it was the responsibility of Reichsstatthalter Arthur Seyß-Inquart to appoint them or to legitimize those who had already acted without a legal basis. As the effect was not as widespread as intended, the Reich Commissar for the Reunification of Austria with the German Reich, Josef Bürckel, issued an order on 28 April 1938 making himself responsible for directing the "Aryanization process" in Vienna, so as to be able to instigate suitable "more thorough measures on a solid legal basis". A further announcement by Reichsstatthalter Seyß-Inquart of 18 May 1938 established the Vermögensverkehrsstelle (VVSt) at Strauchgasse 1 in the 1st district. He appointed the State Commissar in the private economy Walter Rafelsberger to head it. He was directly answerable to the Ministry of Trade and Transport (from 30 May 1938 Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labour) under Hans Fischböck. As a specifically Austrian "central state authority for appropriation policy", the VVSt was to serve for the systematic registration and expropriation of property belonging to persons classified as Jews. Its core tasks include the receipt and administration of asset declarations, the transfer of Jewish assets to Aryans (in particular approval for Aryanization), a restructuring of the Austrian economy through the liquidation of "Jewish businesses" as part of the Aryanization process, the administration of Aryanization and liquidation proceeds, the issue of authorizations on the basis of the Economy Protection Law of 14 April 1938 and the appointment and control of temporary administrators and trustees. Conflicts arose between Rafelsberger and Bürckel, not least in terms of the appointment decisions. Bürckel, who wished to maintain his influence on the VVSt and the Aryanization process, was in favour of rational economic planning in line with the Nazi logic, while Rafelsberger saw Aryanization of a means for obtaining "reparations" for deserving NSDAP members and "Alte Kämpfer" ("Old Comrades").

The Anordnung des Reichsstatthalters über kommissarische Verwalter in der Privatwirtschaft (Order by the Reichsstatthalter on Temporary Administrators in the Private Economy) of 2 July 1938 was intended to further reduce the number of temporary administrators. According to the Order, all those who had not been recently confirmed by Rafelsberger were to stop working in that capacity on 1 August 1938. The number of temporary administrators was reduced to 917 for 1,624 companies. By the end of September 1938, the number was to more than double, while the number of companies more than tripled. Following the Verordnung zur Ausschaltung der Juden aus dem deutschen Wirtschaftsleben (Regulation on the Exclusion of Jews from German Economic Life) of 12 November 1938, the number of temporary administrators rose to its highest level of 2,787. With the introduction of the Verordnung über den Einsatz des jüdischen Vermögens (Regulation on the Use of Jewish Assets) of 3 December 1938, however, the number once again dropped sharply. On the basis of this new Regulation, the temporary administrators, with few exceptions, were replaced by "continuation, sale and liquidation trustees". The VVSt now had the authority to issue orders to Jewish business owners to wind up or sell their businesses by a fixed deadline. This meant that businesses classified as Jewish could no longer formally prevent Aryanization or liquidation. If the order was not obeyed, the VVSt appointed trustees who through their authorization were committed solely to the "due diligence of a prudent businessman" and were directly accountable to the VVSt. The VVSt commissioned external auditing companies such as Laconia-Institut or Wirtschaftsprüfungs- und Treuhandverwaltungsgesellschaft Donau to monitor the winding up and in some cases to wind up individual businesses or entire sectors. In November 1939 there were 418 trustees managing 636 businesses and 594 Abwickler (liquidators) responsible for 8,562 businesses. This limited the uncontrolled expropriations, and also ensured not only that the Nazi state had complete access to businesses and private assets classified as Jewish through the establishment of an appropriate organizational and legal framework but also that the Jews were successively disenfranchised. The Verordnung über die Anmeldung des Vermögens von Juden (Regulation on the Registration of the Assets of Jews) of 26 April 1938 obliged every person classified as a Jew under the First Regulation to the Reich Citizenship Law to declare all assets in excess of 5,000 Reichsmarks by 30 June 1938. Seyß-Inquart had transferred all authorization derived from the Regulation, including the receipt and processing of the declaration forms, to the VVSt. After the Reichsbürgergesetz (Reich Citizenship Law) entered into force in Austria on 20 May 1938, its Third Regulation of 16 June 1938 determined which businesses were "Jewish" and were to be entered in separate lists. The VVSt also had an important role in collecting new mandatory levies, such as the Reichsfluchtsteuer (Reich Flight Tax) introduced in Austria on 14 April 1938 of 25 per cent of assets, or the Judenvermögensabgabe (Jewish Assets Levy or JUVA) introduced on 12 November 1938 of 20 per cent of assets, increased to 25 per cent from October 1939. The huge proceeds from "Aryanization and liquidation measures", including those resulting from the Regulation on the Exclusion of Jews from German Economic Life, were transferred to blocked accounts to which the VVSt had access and which were used to settle unpaid tax claims and other liabilities, such as the payment of the temporary administrators and trustees. The former owners no longer had free access to their assets and were allowed only a small "allowance" to cover running costs. Any other withdrawal was subject to authorization by the VVSt, control bank and later the Devisenstelle (Foreign Exchange Control Office) in Vienna.

In the almost seven years that the VVSt existed, it was subject to rapid and profound changes, as can be seen from the number of direct employees. In 1939 it had a staff of 460, compared with under 80 at the end of 1942 and under 30 in May 1944. Incisive organizational restructuring was prompted by the Gesetz über den Aufbau der Verwaltung in der Ostmark (Ostmarkgesetz) (Law on the Development of Administration in the Ostmark) of 14 April 1939, the Vierte Verordnung über die Übertragung von Aufgaben und Befugnissen des Reichsstatthalters in Österreich (Fourth Regulation on the Transfer of Tasks and Authorities of the Reichsstatthalter in Austria) of 28 October 1939, and finally the Order of 15 November 1939 by which the Reichstatthalter in Austria transferred "authority for the dejewification process" to the State Administration of the Reichsgau Vienna and the provincial governors – from 1940 Reichsstatthalter – of the other Reichsgaus "in accordance with their local responsibility". This ensured that Bürckel could control the expropriations in Vienna, while the VVSt at Strauchgasse 1 never lost its Austria-wide role in the Aryanization process and was incorporated as the Processing Department of the Property Transaction Office in the state administration of the Reichsgau Vienna, Department III, Section 4. At this time, most of the Aryanization and liquidation had been completed. In Vienna just 3 to 5 per cent of businesses were still awaiting Aryanization. Also, Rafelsberger was replaced in summer 1939 by Hans Wagner, who was followed on 1 January 1940 by Friedrich Peichl. The Processing Department of the Property Transaction Office existed until the end of 1943 and its work thereafter was taken over by the much smaller Section III-E of the Reichsstatthalter in Vienna, which was headed until the end of the war by Peichl. With its task extensively finished, coupled with the outbreak of the Second World War and the switch in Nazi policy from systematic disenfranchisement and expulsion to the physical extermination of the Jews, the VVSt gradually lost its significance. As long as it existed, however, it made possible a massive redistribution through disenfranchisement and asset expropriation at the expense of the inhabitants of Austria defined as Jews. Unlike other Nazi institutions such as Vugesta or the Gestapo, there is still extensive documentary evidence of the work of the VVSt, some of which, such as the asset declarations or Aryanization files, are primary sources for provenance research.

Author Info
Publications about the person / institution

Gerhard Botz, "Arisierungen" und nationalsozialistische Mittelstandspolitik in Wien 1938–40, in: Wiener Geschichtsblätter 1 (1974), 122–136.

Gerhard Botz, Nationalsozialismus in Wien. Machtübernahme, Herrschaftssicherung, Radikalisierung, Kriegsvorbereitung. Überarbeitete und erweiterte Neuauflage, Wien 2018.

Ulrike Felber/Peter Melichar/Markus Priller/Berthold Unfried/Fritz Weber, Ökonomie der Arisierung. Teil 1: Grundzüge, Akteure und Institutionen. Zwangsverkauf, Liquidierung und Restitution von Unternehmen in Österreich 1938 bis 1960 (= Veröffentlichungen der Österreichischen Historikerkommission. Vermögensentzug während der NS-Zeit sowie Rückstellungen und Entschädigungen seit 1945 in Österreich 10/1), Wien-München 2005, URL: (3.12.2020).

Christina Felzmann/Jutta Fuchshuber, "Unter Zwang enteignet". "Arisierungen" und "Liquidierungen" von Handelsunternehmen in Österreich von 1938 bis 1945, Diplomarbeit Universität Wien 2012.

Gertraud Fuchs, Die Vermögensverkehrsstelle als Arisierungsbehörde jüdischer Betriebe, Diplomarbeit Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien 1989.

Helmut Genschel, Die Verdrängung der Juden aus der Wirtschaft im Dritten Reich, Göttingen 1966.

Sabine Loitfellner, "Arisierungen" während der NS-Zeit und ihre justizielle Ahndung vor dem Volksgericht Wien 1945–1955. Voraussetzungen – Analyse – Auswirkungen, in: Justiz und Erinnerung (hg. v. Verein zur Förderung justizgeschichtlicher Forschungen) 4 (2001), URL: (3.12.2020).

Alf Krüger, Die Lösung der Judenfrage in der deutschen Wirtschaft. Kommentar zur Judengesetzgebung, Berlin 1940.

N. N., Die Entjudung der Wirtschaft in der Ostmark. Ausstellung der Vermögensverkehrsstelle im Ministerium für Wirtschaft und Arbeit, Wien 1940.

Hans Safrian/Hans Witek, Und keiner war dabei. Dokumente des alltäglichen Antisemitismus in Wien 1938, Wien 1988.

Hans Safrian, Beschleunigung der Beraubung und Vertreibung. Zur Bedeutung des "Wiener Modells" für die antijüdische Politik des "Dritten Reiches" im Jahr 1938, in: Constantin Goschler/Jürgen Lillteicher (Hg.), "Arisierung" und Restitution. Die Rückerstattung jüdischen Eigentums in Deutschland und Österreich nach 1945 und 1989, 61–89.

Karl Schubert, Die Entjudung der ostmärkischen Wirtschaft und die Bemessung des Kaufpreises im Entjudungsverfahren, Dissertation Hochschule für Welthandel Wien 1940.

Hubert Steiner, Vermögensverkehrsstelle, Finanzlandesdirektion und Hilfsfonds. Zur Arbeitsweise der Behörden, in: Birgit Johler/Maria Fritsche (Hg.), 1938, Adresse: Servitengasse, Wien 2007, 208–213.

Hubert Steiner/Christian Kucsera (Bearb.), Recht als Unrecht. Quellen zur wirtschaftlichen Entrechtung der Wiener Juden durch die NS-Vermögensverkehrsstelle, Teil I: Privatvermögen – Personenverzeichnis, Wien 1993.

Hans Witek, "Arisierungen" in Wien. Aspekte nationalsozialistischer Enteignungspolitik 1938–1940, in: Emmerich Talos/Ernst Hanisch/Wolfgang Neugebauer (Hg.), NS-Herrschaft in Österreich 1938–1945, Wien 1988.


OeStA/AdR, BMfHuV Bundesministerium für Handel und Verkehr, 1918–1941.
OeStA/AdR, ZNsZ, Reichskommissar für die Wiedervereinigung Österreichs mit dem Deutschen Reich ("Bürckel Materie").
OeStA/AdR, E-uReang, VVSt.