At the start of World War II, the UK Government brought into force legislation to freeze bank accounts and other assets belonging to residents in enemy countries. The Governments aim was to prevent the enemy from benefiting from any assets held in the UK.
UK Government research indicates that after WWII many of the previously frozen assets were collected in by the Government and transferred to the relevant foreign governments who undertook to meet their own citizens claims directly. Some assets, including bank accounts, were either returned to their original owners by the Government or released.
Some of these accounts released to the banks by the Government were never claimed. While these funds were available to be claimed at any time it is possible that some account holders or their heirs may not have been aware of their existence. So far as has been practicable a number of banks, working in conjunction with the BBA, have undertaken a computerised matching exercise, which compares the names of their unclaimed accounts from the wartime period with records of those assets, which were subject to the Governments control.
The banks have now published a list of names of individuals whose assets were frozen by the Government and which appear to match names in their own records. The banks have also established Restore UK as an agency of the BBA to handle claims. The published list includes surname and first initial only for data protection and confidentiality reasons; the BBA is the data controller.
Click here to view the list of names and for tips on how to search for a name.
If you think you may be entitled to make a claim, you can download a copy of the form now and post it to:
105-108 Old Broad Street
London EC2N 1EX
Alternatively, complete the form on screen now and send it electronically to Restore UK. If you decide to submit your claim in this way you MUST still send a copy by post. Restore UK will not start to process the claim form until a signed posted copy is received. The form makes clear that there is no requirement to answer all of the questions and sets out the procedure the banks will follow when your form is received.
The Department of Trade and Industry has also set up a scheme to compensate victims of Nazi persecution whose property in the UK was confiscated by the British Government during the Second World War and never returned. Queries relating to those assets should be directed to:
The Department of Trade and Industry
10 Victoria Street
London SW1H 0NN
phone + 44 (020) 7215 3485
fax + 44 (020) 7215 3487
Definition of 'Enemy Countries'
During the Second World War, countries at war with the UK fell into two main groups, known as Technical Enemy Countries and Belligerent Enemy Countries:
Technical Enemy Countries
Countries who were invaded by Nazi Germany and its allies such as Albania, The Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia), Belgium, British Dependent Territories, British Territories (Hong Kong, The Colony of the Straits Settlements, The Federated Malay States of Perak, Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Penang, The Unfederated Malay States of Johore, Kedah, Perlis, Kelanten, Trengganu and Brunei, The State of Sarawak, The State of North Borneo), Channel Islands, China (Japanese-occupied Manchuria, the coast of China and the International Settlement and the French Concession at Shanghi (but excluding Macao), Kweilin (China) and dependant areas, Foochow (China) and dependant areas, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France (including French Indo-China), Greece, Luxembourg, The Netherlands (including Indonesia and Netherlands New Guinea), Norway (including the Norwegian Provinces of Nordland, Troms and Finmark), The Philippines, Poland, Yugoslavia.
Belligerent Enemy Countries
Countries such as Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Romania and Thailand, which declared war on the UK.
Residents of Technical Enemy Countries had their assets, including bank accounts, frozen.
Following the end of the war, those assets were unfrozen by the UK Government and the owners were able to reclaim them. However, some were never reclaimed. It is possible that some account holders or their heirs are unaware of their existence.
Restore UK deals with claims relating to accounts of Technical Enemy Countries that have been unclaimed since after the Second World War.
Residents of Belligerent Enemy Countries had their assets confiscated.
For further details on assets confiscated by the UK Government relating to Belligerent country residents, please contact:
The Department of Trade and Industry
10 Victoria Street
Telephone: +44 20 7215 3485
Fax: +44 20 7215 3487
The following eighteen banks are now part of the Restore UK scheme. Names from Government records relating to unclaimed accounts in their books appear in the list of names.
Abbey National plc
Bank Leumi (UK) plc(1)
Bank of Scotland
Barclays Bank plc(2)
C. Hoare & Co
Clydesdale Bank PLC
Credit Lyonnais UK
HSBC Bank plc(4)
Baring Brothers Ltd
Lloyds TSB Group plc
Morgan Grenfell (Deutsche Bank Group)
Moscow Narodny Bank Ltd
NM Rothschild & Sons Limited
National Westminster Bank Plc
Standard Chartered Bank
The Royal Bank of Scotland plc
A number of institutions, banks and building societies, are involved in a second tier process.
Second tier institutions have decided not to join as full members of the Restore UK scheme because they are almost sure that they have no unclaimed accounts from the second world war period in their books. Because they cannot be completely sure they have opted to have some involvement in the process.
Where Restore UK receives a claim which could relate to the second world war period, but where the name of the claim does not appear in the list of names, details of the claim will be sent to second tier institutions as well as to the banks in the Restore UK scheme.
The list of second tier members is:
Alliance and Leicester plc
ANZ Grindlays Bank Ltd
Bank of Montreal
Bristol and West plc
Charterhouse Management Services Ltd (formerly Charterhouse Bank Ltd)
Chase Manhattan Bank
Leopold Joseph and Sons Limited
Northern Bank Limited
Northern Rock plc
West Bromwich Building Society
Yorkshire Bank plc