interpretive guide to the united restitution organization claims files

Access to URO Documents

This section provides information about accessing URO claims documents. As of this time we are aware of two major archival collections of URO files in North America: that of the Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives (formerly the CJC National Archives), which mainly contains the files of the Montreal URO office files as well as a few early files transferred from other parts of Canada, and the collection at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC, which contains the files of the Los Angeles and Toronto URO offices.

It should be noted that access to URO case files by non-family members is presently restricted, as they contain information of a sensitive and personal nature. Therefore it is advisable to contact archives in advance to discuss whether, and to what extent, any form of research involving these files can be carried out.

United Restitution Organization files at the Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives

The URO files at the Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives are described in the online catalogue of the Canadian Jewish Heritage Network at The collection currently consists of approximately 330 boxes of records, including over 220 boxes of BEG cases alone. Some portions of the URO collection may be viewed without restrictions, such as the administrative records of the Canadian office, as well as copies of approximately 9000 brief war experience testimonies (in German) from which the identifying information has been removed. Aside from these identity-protected documents, the URO case files are subject to strict access restrictions except in the case of claimants wishing to acces their own information, their heirs when the claimant is no longer alive, or in cases where a living claimant has given a third party permission to access their file on their behalf. Other researchers are required to apply for permission through the Quebec Commission d'Accès à l'information in order to obtain access to the files. CJ Archives staff will assist interested researchers in doing so. In appropriate cases, permission to view a selection of files may be granted provided that the names and identities of claimants are not photocopied or revealed in any ensuing research papers or publications. For more information on accessing this collection, contact

URO files at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM)

The majority of the closed URO case files from Toronto, Canada are stored in the archives of the USHMM as collection #RG-28.005. The collection consists of more than 100 boxes of inactive case files which were were transferred to the USHMM from the United Restitutions Organization office in Toronto, in October 1990. Among the documents are sworn testimonies of witnesses, indemnity claims, correspondence with doctors and lawyers, medical reports, and memoirs. The collection is not available on microform. The first language of the records is German. There are restrictions on their access and use. The USHMM's description of this collection can be found online by searching for the collection number or "United Restitution Organization" in the USHMM archival guide.

Case files of the United Restitution Organization, Los Angeles office can also be found at the USHMM and a description of them can be found in the USHMM archival guide. This collection, numbered RG-28.004, consists of approximately 2000 inactive case files of Holocaust survivors who made indemnification claims through the Los Angeles URO office. The collection is not available on microform and is subject to restrictions.

General information on accessing archival collections at the museum is available on the USHMM Archives Web site. For more information, contact the museum staff.

Other locations of URO records in Canada

British Columbia (Vancouver): The Jewish Historical Society of British Columbia is the custodian of the records created by the now-closed Vancouver URO office. These records are closed to public access. For more information contact:

Manitoba (Winnipeg):The Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada has over 700 case files from the now-closed Winnipeg office of URO. They are only open to claimants or their immediate family. Contact:

Toronto (Ontario): In 2007, the Ontario Jewish Archives received 43 boxes of dormant case files from the Toronto office of URO. Access to the files is restricted. Contact:

Active URO case files in Canada: There are no official URO offices operating in Canada as of 2014. In Ontario, assistance can be obtained through the Jewish Federation of Toronto; contact person Dora Elzbet, Restitution Officer, Jewish Information Service of Greater Toronto, (tel.) 416-630-2920. This location may house some recently-active cases from other former URO offices such as Montreal. For more information, please consult the Links and References section of this site.