Monday, April 24, 2017

European nations not returning Jewish properties taken during Holocaust era 

Many European nations behind the former Iron Curtain have failed to return property taken from Jews before and during World War II, according to a report released Monday, which also is Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The report, entitled "The Holocaust (Shoah) Immovable Property Restitution Study," is the first comprehensive study of which national signatories to a 2009 declaration on the treatment of immovable property restitution for Holocaust-era assets have made good on their commitments.

Known as the Terezin Declaration, it was drafted eight years ago to deal with the looting and property theft of Jews during WWII. A total of 47 countries signed the declaration and committed to resolving Holocaust property issues that remained for decades after the end of the war.

One of the key findings of the report, co-authored by the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) and the European Shoah Legacy Institute, is that a high number of Eastern European countries have only complied partially with their commitments. Some -- like Poland and Bosnia – have done nothing to honor their commitments.

Most Western European nations were found to have complied with the Terezin Declaration.

"[S]ome countries, particularly Poland, have not yet addressed the legacy of property looted during the Holocaust," Gideon Taylor, WJRO's chair of operations, said to Fox News. "It is urgent that countries provide restitution or compensation now, while the remaining survivors are alive to benefit."

Taylor says that Poland — where Nazi forces killed nearly 90 percent of the Jews — is the only major country in the former Soviet bloc to not pass any comprehensive law to return property that was confiscated by the Nazis or nationalized by Communist forces.

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