Never Too Late: Holocaust Survivors to Obtain Restitution

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Yesterday, the Senate passed the Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today, or JUST Act, introduced in February by Senators Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

The new bill would require the State Department to track the progress of European countries in returning property, art and Holocaust–era assets. It would also require a report on the progress of restitution for claims that have already been initiated by Holocaust survivors or their family members.

The World Jewish Restitution Organization had praise for the new bill, and expressed a desire to see it signed into law this year.

“Through this legislation, the United States will help survivors achieve a small measure of justice for the wrongful seizure of their property during the Holocaust,” said Gideon Taylor, the organization’s chair of operations “Now is the time – while the remaining survivors are alive – for countries to provide restitution.”

The JUST Act is a bill that will further enhance the previously passed International Terezin Declaration on Holocaust Era Assets and Related Issues of 2009. The Terezin bill had affirmed the protection of property rights and recognized the importance of restituting or compensating Holocaust-related confiscations. However, several nations that agreed to enforce the Terizen Declaration have not completely addressed private and heir-less property, nor the complete restitution of communal property.