On May 2, 1947 Oberregierungsrat Fritz Klesper, head of the Hamburg State Office for Property Administration [Hamburger Landesamt für Vermögenskontrolle] (in charge of the administration of former National Socialist property and processing of “compensation” and restitution payments) which had only been established that year, sent a three-page letter to his superior, the President of Hamburg’s Main Finance Office. It concerned the “reparation claims” that Kurt Lavy had filed. A Jew from Hamburg-Bergedorf, Lavy and his wife Anna-Maria had fled to Rio de Janeiro in 1938. In his letter, Klesper referred to Gestapo files and Lavy’s statement of assets of July 8, 1938. To assess the value of Lavy’s former ownership share in the Bergedorf company Faserstoff-Zurichterei GmbH [a pulp processing plant], he used a market value reduced to 38 percent, which the Bergedorf tax office had suggested in 1938 for “Aryanization purposes.” Reichsstatthalter Karl Kaufmann, who had authorized the company’s “Aryanization” in 1938, had set the corresponding depreciation at 50 percent, however. Klesper was aware of this in 1947. He had been head of the surveillance and criminal departments at the Exchange Control Office [Devisenstelle] from 1937, which at that time was already reporting to the Chief Finance President and, together with the Gestapo and Customs Investigation Office, had plundered the Jews who had been forced to leave the country. After 1945, when he continued his career at the State Office for Property Administration [Landesamt für Vermögenskontrolle], of all places, he used the particularly extreme “Aryanization calculations” of the Bergedorf tax office in 1938, thus recommending a second expropriation of Lavy’s company property in 1947.
Letter by Fritz Klesper to the President of Hamburg’s Finance Office (May 2, 1947), edited in: Key Documents of German-Jewish History, <https://dx.doi.org/10.23691/jgo:source-206.en.v1> [January 28, 2021].