Maria Schaumayer, Banker Who Settled Nazi Claims, Dies

Maria Schaumayer, the Austrian Central Bank governor who went on to settle claims filed by Nazi slave-labor victims, died today. She was 82.

She died unexpectedly early this morning in her apartment, the Vienna coroner’s office said today in a statement. No cause of death was given for the native of Graz, Austria.

Schaumayer was the first woman to lead a central bank in Europe, heading the Austrian institution from 1990 to 1995. After leaving the bank, she led the Austrian government’s negotiations to compensate Nazi slave-labor victims. The government agreed to pay out $394.5 million in 2000.

“She decisively influenced the economic and political life of our country,” Austrian President Heinz Fischer said today in a statement. She was “counted among the most important political and economic personalities in the life of the Republic of Austria.”

Schaumayer, who began her career as a Vienna city councilwoman, was awarded Austria’s Golden Medal of Honor in 2000 for her service to the country. She was an honorary member of the country’s National Academy of Science and ran a foundation that helped women enter economics and the sciences.

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