July 29, 2020 — New York
AJC welcomes the State Department report to Congress on Holocaust restitution and compensation efforts. The report is required by the Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act of 2017.
The comprehensive report presents a country-by-country assessment of the progress made to provide restitution or compensation for property seized during the Holocaust. It examines 46 countries that participated in the Prague Holocaust Era Assets Conference in 2009 and signed the Terezin Declaration issued at its conclusion.
That conference focused on efforts to secure the return of former Jewish communal property, to enable private property owners or their heirs to reclaim those properties or to receive compensation for them, and to address the question of former Jewish-owned private properties with no living heirs as many families were murdered in their entirety during the Holocaust. The Terezin Declaration enumerated the commitments that participating countries agreed to assume to resolve these claims.
AJC participated in the Prague conference as well as in the first Washington Holocaust Era Assets Conference convened by the State Department in 1998.
“It is clear that there has been considerable progress in responding to these restitution claims over the past two decades,” said Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC Director of International Jewish Affairs, who spoke at both conferences. “Yet, that progress in many of these 46 countries is woefully incomplete.”
The State Department report provides details on what has been achieved and what remains to be settled in each case in each country.
“We hope individual countries will see the State Department report as a constructive review that will spur them to take further action,” said Baker. “As this year has marked the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and the Holocaust, it is high time that all claims are finally resolved.”