Second global report on restitution of rights and looted jewish property



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STATE OF ISRAEL

SECOND GLOBAL REPORT ON RESTITUTION

OF RIGHTS AND LOOTED JEWISH PROPERTY
1952-2008

JUNE 2009 JERUSALEM

The Second Global Report on Restitution of Rights and Looted Jewish Property (1952-2008) created for the 2009 Prague Holocaust-Era Assets Conference to serve as a resource, as well as a basis for deliberations.

This report is based mainly on The First Global Report on Restitution of Jewish Property (1952-2004) which was composed in accordance with a 2003 Israel Government resolution, by the Inter-Ministerial Steering Committee on Restitution of Rights and Jewish Property. The First Report included the activities in Israel and various other countries and consolidated the reports of the countries and organizations engaged in this subject. The report was submitted to the Ministerial Committee on Restitution of Rights and Jewish Property, discussed and approved by Government resolution in 2005.
We acknowledge with gratitude all those who participated in compiling both reports. Without their important contributions, assistance and devotion this report would have never reached its present depth and comprehensiveness (please see names listed on the last page of this report).

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page
Executive Summary…………………………………………………….............................6

Preface……………………………………………………………………………………10

Introduction………………………………………………………………………..……..12
1. GERMAN RESPONSIBILITY (Where it all began)………………...…………………13

A Shoah: Holocaust Chronology……………………………………….……….........….15
2. THE JEWISH MATERIAL DAMAGE DURING THE SHOAH (The Result)………….17

2.1. The Jewish Material Damage during the Shoah…………………………………….17

2.2. Looted Jewish Private Property……………………………………………………..17

2.3. Looted Jewish Communal Property…………………………………………...........18

2.4. Abandoned Jewish Culture: Jewish Cemeteries………………………………….....19

2.5. The Law on Restitution of Jewish Property………………………………………...19
3. UNRESOLVED ISSUES (What needs to be done) .……………………………..........19

3.1. Returning to the Jewish People……………………………………………………...20

3.2. Right Value …………………………………………………………………………20

3.3. Recording and Publication………………….…………………………………….....20

3.4. Judicial………………………………………………………………………............21

3.5. Follow-up on Resolutions of International Conferences …………………………...21

3.6. Follow-up on Historical Commissions and Reconciliation…………………………21

3.7. Coordinated Jewish Distribution……………………………………………………21

3.8. Future Fund of Jewish People and Diaspora (Unclaimed Property)………………..22

3.9. Further Research Required………………………………………………………....22

3.10. Nazi Impact on Lives and Property of Jews from North Africa…………………..23

3.11. Next Steps………………………………………………………………………....23
APPENDIX A - UNRESOLVED ISSUES: PROCESSES AND COUNRTY BY COUNTRY…25

A1. Looted Jewish Art…………………………………………………………………..25

A2. Jewish Life Insurance Policies……………………………………………………...25

A3. Burial of Jewish Holocaust Victims…………………………………………...........26

A4. Countries:

Austria…………………………………………………………………………………..26

Bosnia……………………………………………………………………………….......27

Bulgaria…………………………………………………………………………………27

Croatia…………………………………………………………………………………..28

The Czech Republic…………………………………………………………………….29

European Union (EU)………………………………………………………………......30

France….……………………………………………………………………………….30

Germany……………………………………………………………………………......30

Greece………………………………………………………………………………......33

Hungary………………………………………………………………………………...33

Israel (see Appendix C1)

Italy………………………………………………………………………………….....34

Latvia .…………………………………………………………………………………35

Lithuania…………………………………………………………………………….....36

Republic of Macedonia………………………………………………………………...37

Poland……………………………………………………………………………….....38

Romania………………………………………………………………………………..39

Republic of Serbia ……………………………………………………………………..41

Slovakia………………………………………………………………………………...41

Slovenia…………………………………………………………………………….…..42

Former Soviet Union…………………………………………………………………...43

Sweden………………………………………………………………………………....44

Ukraine…………………………………………………………………………………44

United States (see Appendix C4)

Vatican………………………………………………………………………………....45
APPENDIX B - ACROSS BORDERS (What has been done)…………………………...46

B1. German Reparations for the State of Israel and the Jewish People………………..46

B2. German Personal Restitution, Compensation, Indemnification and

Pensions for Jews ………………………………………………………................48

B3. German Restitution of Jewish Unclaimed Property……………………………….49

B4. German Forced Labor Compensation for Jews……………………………………49

B5. German Life Insurance policies……………………………………………………50

B6. German Dormant Bank Accounts…………………………………………………50

B7. German Future Fund………………………………………………………………50

B8. International Process and Conferences …………………………………………....50

B9. Jewish Dormant Bank Accounts in Swiss Banks………………………………….50

B10. Jewish Life Insurance Policies………………………………………………........51

B11. Looted Shoah Victims Gold………………………...……………………………55

B12. Looted Jewish Art………………………………………………………………..55

B13. Looted Jewish Communal Property……………………………………………...56

B14. Looted Jewish Private Property………………………………………………….56

B15. Historical Commissions on conduct of Nations during the Shoah:

Holocaust and Reconciliation……………………………………………………56

B16. A Shoah Restitution Timeline……………………………………………………59
APPENDIX C - ONGOING ACTIVITY (Who is doing what) …………………………61

C1. Israeli Government and Parliament: From German Reparations until today……..61

C2. Jewish Organizations: 1) Claims Conference; 2) WJRO; 3) Center of

Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel…………………………………....65

C3. U.S. Congress: “Helsinki Commission”…………………………………………...69

C4. U.S.: State Department & Treasury Department…………………………………..69

C5. Foundations: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Norway, Other……..72
APPENDIX D - POST HOLOCAUST ISSUES (Never Again!) .........................................77

D1. Holocaust Denial…………………………………………………………………...77

D2. Anti-Semitism……………………………………………………………………...77

D3. Shoah Commemoration and Education……………………………………………78

D4. Historical Commissions on conduct of Nations during the Shoah:

Holocaust and Reconciliation……………………………………………………...79


BIBLIOGRAPHY………………………………………………………….………………...…….........80
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS…………………….……………………………………….....90
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
· It all started with hatred of Jews just because they were Jews linked to the complete absence of freedom in the murderous tyranny and despotism in Nazi Germany, and with similar situations in the countries of her allies.[1] It ended with the greatest crimes in human history, the worst of which were the degradation, torture, and ultimate extermination of four million Jewish men and women and two million Jewish children, and the robbing of every conceivable kind of property belonging to nine million Jews.
· The cause of the need for Restitution is the Shoah that originated in Nazi Germany. As a result of the Shoah, material damage in private and communal property and abandoned or destroyed Jewish culture.
· The Attorney General in Israel (today the Supreme Court Justice, Honorable Elyakim Rubinstein) recommended in 1999 to the Prime Minister that a global report on Restitution of Jewish Property be created. The government acted upon this recommendation when it resolved to establish the Ministerial Committee on Restitution of Rights and Jewish Property.
· It was a challenge to produce the First Report. Many of the subjects required major new research. Therefore, the focus of the First Report was mainly on the Jewish material damage during the Shoah and on unresolved issues. The Appendixes herein describe what has been done.
· The First Report in 2005 was the first ever of its kind. Historians may speculate about why it took 60 years. In the initial post-Holocaust period, Shoah survivors were totally preoccupied with getting their lives together once more, extricating themselves from the pit of extermination camps, setting up new families, in the struggle for the establishment of the State of Israel. There was little or no time to deal with the material issues, and there was a general reluctance to broach this subject. While memories of the Nazi horrors were still fresh and the wounds still festering, who could speak of the Holocaust and money in the same breath?
· In the nineties, fifty years after the beginning of WWII, many closed archives were opened. This led to new, published research that became instrumental in making Restitution issues available in depth for public, open discussion.
· Six million Jews were murdered during the Shoah, but the property of nine million European Jews was looted or destroyed. The contents of homes and apartments, real estate, commercial accounts and economic investments, savings and insurance policies, personal effects, investments in gold, bank accounts, securities, foreign currency, jewelry, art and other valuables all were plundered.
· Jewish material damage during the Shoah is estimated to be $230-320 billion (1997 prices) as follows: Jewish looted property - $120 billion; Loss of Income - $100-150 billion; Wages unpaid for forced labor - $10-50 billion.

Stuart Eizenstat, who was appointed by U.S. President Bill Clinton to coordinate the U.S. government’s efforts to identify the assets of Shoah victims, estimated at the end of 1998 that the assets were worth $145 billion, in 1998 prices ($150 billion in current prices. This figure refers to Looted Jewish Property, which is only a part of the overall Jewish Material Damage during the Shoah).


· Some estimates suggest that no more than 20 percent of looted Jewish assets of all sorts – private and communal - were returned after the Shoah.

Communal property probably does not account for more than five percent of the assets looted. Still, only a small fraction of it was restitute




  • Restitution of Jewish private property is the weakest link in the Restitution process. A great deal still needs to be done in this area.

· Even though over $8 billion dollars of one-time payments were negotiated in settlements during 1998-2001 (some to non-Jews) and a substantial part was paid and distributed, this is only a small part of the Jewish material damage during the Shoah. There is much left to be done to achieve some justice for Shoah survivors and their heirs.


· Quite a number of Restitution issues were dealt with successfully. However the accomplishments made so far are incomplete. Some of those with whom agreements on Restitution were negotiated have not implemented those agreements fully and do only the bare minimum.
· There has been a loss of momentum in dealing with the hundreds of thousands of elderly victims, Shoah survivors, about ten percent of who die each year. Any systematic delay in establishing settlement and disbursement processes or resolving disputes is therefore not just another bureaucratic hurdle. It is rather the difference between a dignified closing to a tragic period in their lives and an unrequited sense of the permanent denial of justice. These survivors deserve assistance for the needs of old age to alleviate their unabated suffering.
· It is just and right that whatever belonged to the Jewish people should go back to the Jewish People. The distribution among the Jewish People becomes then an issue for the Jewish people themselves.
· It is the Jewish people who were the major victims of the Nazi atrocities before and during World War II. The dead cannot be returned alive, but whatever can be done to help Shoah survivors and future Jewish generations must be done. Whatever can be done for Shoah commemoration and education must also be done. This is the only way to achieve some justice at this late date.

· The issue of the current value of Restituted property is of essence. The historical pre-WWII value has little relevance today. Substantial work was done on this in the process of updating the value of insurance policies from the Shoah era. This can serve as a raw model for other types of restituted assets.


· There is an urgent need for registration of Jewish Property in a centralized database that will serve as a resource and memorial for future generations of the Jewish heritage in Europe prior to WWII.
· Restitution can successfully be dealt with only by exceptional legal measures. In most countries, special, fast, and simple legislation is badly needed. Only extraordinary means will enable closure on the issues of restitution of Jewish property.
· There is a need for follow-up to assure implementation of resolutions adopted at international conferences. A great deal of multinational effort went into achieving these resolutions, and they must be fully implemented.
· There is a need for follow-up on resolutions and recommendations of historical commissions and reconciliation bodies. In some countries, progress has been painstakingly slow.
· Stuart Eizenstat suggested in his memo to the American court dealing with the Swiss banks litigation to look at four substantial amounts of funds originating from Restitution. He further suggested how to coordinate the distribution of those funds. Eizenstat’s proposal could serve as a basis for the “big picture” thinking. Such visionary thinking is essential to help Shoah survivors, assist Shoah education and commemoration, and to ensure continuity and the future existence of the Jewish People.
· Several attempts were made in Israel to establish a Future Fund of the Jewish People and Diaspora and deposit into it heirless funds originating from Restitution. The attempts were made by proposed legislation in the Knesset and by establishing a new non-profit organization. All attempts have been opposed by the Shoah survivors’ organizations. They continue to insist that the funds should be used for the benefit of needy survivors.
· There are many unresolved issues, among them major issues involving art, real estate, and insurance. In addition, there are at least 20 countries with unresolved issues inclusive of Israel and the United States (in alphabetical order): Austria, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, The Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Romania, the Former Soviet Union, Sweden, Ukraine, and the Vatican.
· A country-by-country “Combined Status” report is necessary and requires further research. Restitution depends on what has already been done in each country, and what needs to be done in various areas such as legislature, economics, politics etc. Professional evaluation needs to be done on each country.

· Further research is required on the Nazi impact on the lives and the property of Jews from North Africa.


· In order to prevent another Shoah other crucial areas need to be dealt with such as: Holocaust denial; Anti-Semitism; Shoah commemoration and education; and follow up on Historical Commissions to examine the conduct of nations during the Shoah.
· A five-year Work Plan on Policy and Principles and a five-year Work Plan relating to the Restitution of Rights to Jewish-owned Property were formulated in March of 2004. They were submitted for review of WJRO and the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel. They were then brought for approval to the Ministerial Committee for Restitution of Rights and Jewish Property. The primary concept was to have closure on as many as possible issues within five years, while some of the first generation Shoah survivors are alive.
· After the Ministerial Committee approved the multi-annual policy, an annual action plan for each of the five years needed to be formulated, decided and agreed upon, with relevant bodies and organizations in Israel and abroad participating.
· The division of labor for the annual action plan needs to be done according to the ability of the participants to bring closure on the issues within the framework agreed upon.
The implementation of above-mentioned Ministerial Committee Policy will be funded by the Government in cooperation with other relevant organs.
PREFACE
The Attorney General of Israel (today the Supreme Court Justice, Honorable Elyakim Rubinstein), recommended in 1999 to the Prime Minister that a global report on Restitution of Jewish property should be composed. His recommendation came after a full day symposium [2] he held that year on the many aspects of Restitution [3]. In 2003, the government acted upon this recommendation when it resolved to establish the Ministerial Committee on Restitution of Rights and Jewish Property (see Chapter 3.11).
Composing the First Global Report on the Restitution of Jewish Property (1952-2004) was a difficult challenge. It was the first-ever report of its kind. It required the organization and compilation of a myriad of sources of information. In its completion and entirety the First Global Report on the Restitution of Jewish Property served as a framework for all matters concerning the issue. This framework created a need to compose a Second Global Report on the Restitution of Jewish Property.
The First Report answered the questions of what, when, who, why, and where? Private and communal Jewish property was plundered by European nations during the Shoah and WWII. The Jewish people of Europe were victim to genocide simply because they were Jews. In total, 6 million Jews were murdered and 9 million Jews lost ownership of their property.
The First Report also brought clarity to the need for the Restitution of Jewish property. In 2005, 60 years after the end of WWII and the Shoah, the time was ripe to address the issue. Shoah survivors were much older and had reached a time of relative stability in their lives. The memories of Nazi horror were no longer fresh and immediate. Shoah survivors had reestablished their lives and created families.
The issue of the Restitution of Jewish property has now become the issue of the Jewish people. In working toward compensation for the property stolen from European Jewry there resides the promise of some small measure of justice owed to Shoah survivors. Of the 1,092,000 elderly Shoah survivors almost 10 percent will pass away each year. It is urgent then that restitution is delivered to those who experienced the greatest injustice in human history. In the 1950s during a debate in the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, on the issue of German reparations, Foreign Minister Moshe Sharrett asked of his colleagues, “If the dead Shoah victims would be asked in advance, if there comes a day when it will be possible to get back a part , shall we take it or not? They would say: Take it and God bless you…Was our state established to demand sacred debts which belong to the Jewish People or to let the debtors get free?”
In this spirit, 64 years since the Shoah, the Jewish people and the heirs of the survivors of the Shoah are ready and able to tackle this issue and to fight for the restitution of property.
This report, the Second Global Report on the Restitution of Jewish property, highlights the progress, or the lack thereof, in regards to the restitution of Jewish property since 2004. Most of the Jewish property in question resided in former Communist countries of Eastern Europe. Today, democratic governments have arisen in many of these nations. In conjunction with a plethora of research published on the issue in recent years, the prospects of retrieving Jewish property has become increasingly realistic.
Quite a number of Restitution issues have been successfully dealt with. However, the accomplishments made are far from complete. Some of those with whom agreements on Restitution were negotiated do only the bare minimum despite previous commitments.
The issue of the restitution of Jewish property is real. Thorough information on it exists and is there for the taking. The qualitative and quantitative analysis of the issue is expected and unexpected, revealing and evasive, disconcerting and consoling. Most of all, it is rousing and a call for action. Greater efforts and ventures need to be undertaken. Any systematic delay in establishing settlement and disbursement processes or resolving disputes is therefore not just another bureaucratic hurdle, but the difference between a dignified closing to a tragic period in the lives of Shoah survivors and unrequited sense of the permanent denial of justice. These survivors deserve assistance for the needs of old age to alleviate their unabated suffering.

INTRODUCTION
Hast thou killed and also taken possession?!” 1 Kings 21:19

You have committed murder, now do you wish to become the victim’s heir?”[4]

Eli Wiesel, Shoah survivor, Writer, Nobel Laureate
Six million Jews died in the Shoah between the years 1939 and 1945:


JEWS WHO DIED IN THE Shoah
Polish and FSU*Jews…....4,565,000

German Jews……………….125,000

Austrian Jews………………...65,000

Czechoslovakian Jews……...227,000

Hungarian Jews…………….402,000

French Jews…………….……83,000

Belgian Jews…………………24,000

Jews of Luxembourg……………700

Italian Jews……………………7,500

Jews of the Netherlands…….106,000

Norwegian Jews…………………760

Romanian Jews……………….40,000

Yugoslavian Jews…………….60,000

Greek Jews……………………65,000


TOTAL LOSS**………...5,820,000
Source: Encyclopedia Judaica, Vol. 8 p. 889

Eli Wiesel, Shoah survivor, Writer, Nobel laureate tried to grasp the enormity of the number of 6,000,000. On several occasions he tried to simply count to six million. He said that the task overwhelmed him and he never managed to get past around 100,000 before he had to stop…[5]


Six million Jews were murdered during the Shoah, but the property of nine million European Jews was looted or destroyed. The contents of homes and apartments, real estate, commercial accounts and economic investments, savings and insurance policies, personal effects, investments in gold, bank accounts, securities, foreign currency, jewelry, art and other valuables all were plundered.[6]
Stuart Eizenstat, appointed by US President Bill Clinton to coordinate the U.S. government’s efforts to identify the assets of Shoah victims, estimated at the end of 1998 that the assets were worth $145[7] billion in 1998 prices ($150 billion in today prices).

_______________________________________________________________________

* FSU: Former Soviet Union. **Does not include Jews from North Africa and the Middle East in

countries controlled by the Nazis and their allies.



1. GERMAN RESPONSIBILITY (Where it all began)
THE Shoah
The first declaration of war by Nazi Germany was against the Jewish people, and it took a special form [8] (see next: A Shoah: Holocaust Chronology).
Chaim Weizmann, the president of the Jewish Agency (later the first President of the State of Israel), told the Allies in a note about the Shoah in 1945:
“Its aim was not conquest and enslavement, but the complete physical extermination of the Jews, the utter destruction of their spiritual and religious heritage, and the confiscation of all their material possessions. In executing their declaration of war, Germany and her associates murdered some six million Jews, destroyed all Jewish communal institutions wherever their authority extended, stole all the Jewish treasures of art and learning, seized all Jewish property, public and private, on which they could lay their hands.”[9]
Weizmann said that Hitler’s war against the Jews created a three-fold problem – of reparation, rehabilitation, and restitution. He demanded indemnification and compensation from Germany. He also called for heirless Jewish property to be turned over to the Jewish Agency, because that body was the official representative of the Jews and bore the cost of resettling Jewish refugees in Palestine.[10]
The State of Israel, then three years old, sent a diplomatic note on March 12, 1951, to the four occupying powers of Germany – the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union – seeking compensation from Germany. However, Israel cautioned, “No indemnity, however large, can make good the loss of human life and cultural values or atone for the suffering and agonies of the men, women and children put to death by every inhuman device”.[11]
David Ben-Gurion, the first Prime Minister of the State of Israel, said in his speech delivered on January 7, 1952, at the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) in Jerusalem:
“Six million Jews were killed by torture, hunger, slaughter and mass suffocation. Many were burnt to death, buried alive, there was no mercy for elderly, women and children, and babies were torn out of the hands of their mothers and thrown into the furnaces. And before this mass and systematical murder was carried out, during (the murder) and after (the murder), came the robbery, vast and unprecedented. A crime so vast and so horrible cannot be forgiven despite any material compensation. Any compensation, big as it may be, cannot compensate for the loss of lives or offer forgiveness for the suffering of men and of women, children, elderly and babies.”[12]
Scholarly studies of the Shoah during World-War II suggest that if the Shoah had not occurred, the world Jewish population in the year 2000 would have been between 20.1 million people and 32.8 million people, instead of the actual 12.8 million[14].
In terms of demographic composition, and especially its age-structure, the pre-World-War II Jewish population was bound to a slow process of aging. But because of the Shoah this process was greatly accelerated. Of critical importance was the fact that young children were heavily over-represented among total victims of the Shoah. The demographic growth momentum that was implicit in the relatively young age structure of world Jewry in 1939 was irreparably lost. The consequence was additional massive erosion in the demographic process of generation replacement already tragically upset by mass destruction.[15]

A Shoah : HOLOCAUST CHRONOLOGY

Source: see bibliography Rossel.Seymour (1992)



over Austria; anti-Jewish laws are

enforced there.



APRIL 26 Decree on the reporting of

Jewish assets.



OCTOBER 28 15,000 Jews are forced at

gunpoint to cross the border into Poland.



NOVEMBER 9 Kristallnacht begins,

resulting in enormous destruction to

Jewish property in Germany and Austria.

NOVEMBER 15 All Jewish students

are expelled from German schools.



DECEMBER 13 Compulsory

expropriation of all Jewish businesses

and industries.

1939

AUGUST 23 Russia and Germany sign

a non-aggression pact.



SEPTEMBER 1 Germany declares

war on Poland.



SEPTEMBER 3 World War II begins.

OCTOBER 12 First trainload of

Austrian Jews sent to camps in Poland.



NOVEMBER 23 All Polish Jews

ordered to wear a yellow badge

imprinted with a Star of David.

NOVEMBER 28 First ghetto set

up in Poland at Protrkow.



1940

FEBRUARY 12 First time that German

Jews are sent to concentration camps.



APRIL 9 Germans occupy Denmark.

MAY 10 Germany invades Holland,

Belgium and France.



MAY 20 Auschwitz concentration camp

set up.


JUNE 22 France surrenders to Germany.

SEPTEMBER 27 Japan joins

Germany and Italy in Axis powers.



OCTOBER 2 Warsaw ghetto set up.

NOVEMBER 20-24 Hungary, Romania

and Slovakia join the Axis Powers.



1933

JANUARY 30 Hitler becomes

Chancellor of Germany.



FEBRUARY 27-28 Reichstag fire set by

Nazis. Constitution of Germany is

suspended. Hitler is given

“emergency” powers.



MARCH 20 First concentration camp

set in Dachau.



APRIL 1 Hitler orders a one-day

boycott of Jewish shops.



APRIL 7 First anti-Jewish law passed

in Germany



1934

FEBRUARY 7 Hitler’s Defense

Council declares its intension to

Prepare for war.

JUNE 30 Hitler consolidates power

by executing Ernst Roehm and

several other Nazi leaders.

AUGUST 3 Hitler declares himself

both President and Chancellor of

Germany.

1935

SEPTEMBER 15 First Nuremberg

laws passed. German Jews lose their

citizenship.

NOVEMBER 14 Nazis define a “Jew”

as anyone with three Jewish grand

parents, or anyone with two Jewish

grandparents who claims to be

Jewish.

1937

JULY 2 Many Jewish students

ordered to leave German

schools and universities.

JULY 19 Buchenwald concentration

camp set up.



NOVEMBER 16 Passports of Jews are

declared invalid for foreign travel .



1938

MARCH 12 Anschluss: Germany takes

1941

1943

FEBRUARY 2 German army stopped

at Stalingrad, Russia.



APRIL 19 Warsaw ghetto revolt

begins. Jews fight till early June.



JUNE Nazis order destruction of all

ghettos in Poland and Russia. Armed

resistance begins in many ghettos.

AUGUST 2 Armed revolt breaks out in

Treblinka camp.



FALL Large ghettos destroyed at

Minsk, Vilna , and Riga. Danes begin

the rescue of Danish Jewry.

OCTOBER 14 Armed revolt breaks

out in Sobibor extermination camp.



1944

MAR. 19 Germany occupies Hungary

MAY 15 Hungarian Jews are sent to

concentration camps.



JUNE 6 Allies invade France.

JULY 24 Russia army liberates the

concentration camp at Maidanek.



SUMMER Remaining Jews in

Kovno, Shavli, and Lodz ghettos

are sent to concentration camps

and the ghettos are destroyed.



OCTOBER 7 Revolt in Auschwitz.

OCTOBER 31 Remaining Slovakian

Jews are sent to Auschwitz.



NOVEMBER 2 Jews remaining at

Theresienstadt ghetto are sent to

Auschwitz.

NOVEMBER 8 Beginning of death

marches. 40,000 Jews are marched

from Budapest to Austria.

1945

JANUARY 27 Auschwitz concentration

camp is liberated.



APRIL 6 Buchenwald death march.

MAY 7 Germany surrenders.

NOVEMBER 20 Nuremberg War Crimes Trials begin, ending on October 1, 1946.

MARCH Adolf Eichmann appointed

Head of Gestapo section for

Jewish affairs.

APRIL Germany occupies Greece

And Yugoslavia.



JUNE 22 Germany invades Russia.

JUNE- DECEMBER Einzetzgruppen

begin mass murder of Eastern

European Jewry.

SEPTEMBER 15 German Jews

ordered to wear the yellow badge.



SEPTEMBER 28-29 Massacre of

35,000 Jews at Babi-Yar, near Kiev.



OCTOBER 23 Massacre of

19,000 Jews in Odessa.



DECEMBER 7 Japanese attack Pearl

Harbour. United States joins the

Allied Powers.

1942

JANUARY 20 Plans for the “Final

Solution of the Jewish Problem”

discussed at the Wannsee Conference.

MARCH 1 Extermination by gas

begins at Sobibor camp.



LATE MARCH Deportations to

Auschwitz begin.



JUNE 20 All Jewish schools closed.

JULY 28 Jewish fighting group

organized in the Warsaw ghetto.



SUMMER Dutch, Polish, French,

Belgian, and Croatian Jews sent

to extermination camps. Armed

resistance by Jews in few ghettos.



OCTOBER 4 All Jews in German

concentration camps scheduled

for transfer to Auschwitz.

NOVEMBER Allied troops land

in Africa



WINTER Norwegian, German, and

Greek Jews sent to concentration

camps . Jewish partisan groups gather in

forests to fight.




2. JEWISH MATERIAL DAMAGE DURING THE Shoah (The Result)
2.1. JEWISH MATERIAL DAMAGE DURING THE Shoah
Jewish material damage during the Shoah is estimated to be $ 230-320[16] billion

(1997 prices) as follows:


Looted Jewish Property - $120 billion[17] ($150 billion in current prices[18])

Loss of Income - $100-150 billion[19]

Wages unpaid for Forced Labor - $ 10-50 billion[20]
Total - $230-320 billion[21]
Division by major countries of the first issue - Looted Jewish Property – was done by the World Jewish Congress[22].
2.2. LOOTED JEWISH PRIVATE PROPERTY
Looting of Jewish private property took place from 1933 until 1945. Many Jews had to sell their businesses, homes and possessions at far less than prevailing market values because of forced “Aryanization” (legalized theft) and security concerns. Property was extracted from Jews via extortion, bribery and heavy taxes. Looting went on in the concentration camps and even from the corpses of the Jewish victims (i.e. gold teeth).[23]
Ideally, a breakdown of assets would involve the following categories and its sub-categories:
- Homes, land and farms.

- Normal household items – furniture, rugs, ornaments, etc. – whose value about

matches the material and labor input made in producing them, less depreciation.

- Collector’s items – paintings, sculpture, jewelry, books etc. – whose value far exceeds the material and labor involved in producing them.

- Businesses including financial holdings, real estate, machinery, and equipment.

- Personal monetary holdings and investments, currency, bank accounts, precious metal (coins and bars) and stones(non-jewelry), stocks, bonds and other negotiable financial instruments, and the invested value in life insurance, annuities and retirement accounts.[24]


The best information on looted Jewish property comes from the detailed census of Jewish assets in Germany and Austria in 1938 and Slovakia in 1940. In all three countries, Jews were asked to report their assets and liabilities by some 10 categories as follows: agricultural/forestry, residential real estate, business, financial (securities, capital claims, cash, saving annuities), unpaid salaries, household items, valuables, insurance, misc., and other.[25]

Real estate was broken down between residential and commercial with the later placed under business. Businesses were integrated by type – commerce, trade (retailing), industry, banking and transportation.[26]


The most revealing results from analyzing those censuses are:

- Residential real estate consists of some 25-30 percent of total.

- Personal monetary holdings and investments account for at least 40 percent and probably more than half of Jewish assets.[27]
Based on this information it can be tentatively estimated that about two-thirds of the assets were easily movable.
The common used breakdown of looted Jewish private property includes:
- Real Estate – commercial and agricultural land, residential and commercial buildings, flats.

- Contents of homes and apartments – furniture, carpets, appliances,

clothing, etc.

- Jewelry – gold, silver, diamonds and other precious stones.

- Gold – coins and bars.

- Financial assets – private and commercial bank accounts, savings, foreign

currency, securities (bonds, shares, etc).

- Insurance policies – life and commercial.

- Intellectual Property – patents, trademarks, engineering and

architectural plans.

- Art – paintings, sculptures, gold and silver items, carpets and antique

furniture.

- Judaica – Torah scrolls, prayer books and ceremonial objects.

- Books – novels, encyclopedias, art books and entire libraries.[28]


Much of the Jewish looted private property is unclaimed as all owners and their heirs died in the Shoah.
2.3. LOOTED JEWISH COMMUNAL PROPERTY
Jewish communal property was looted, taken over and confiscated during the Shoah and thereafter. Depending on the country, communal property may have been initially taken by the Nazis or their associated regimes and/or thereafter seized and nationalized by post-war Communist regimes.
The term “communal property” includes any buildings (existing or not) or land that was owned by a Jewish community, religious congregation or organization – such as a synagogue, school, hospital, ritual bath, library, old age home, orphanage, or cultural facility, as well as cemeteries. Communal property also includes Judaica, books and art belonging to the community.

In many cases, properties are now occupied by commercial or private tenants, especially public institutions (such as schools, hospitals, housing, museums, etc.). Some properties have already been sold to third parties.


Communal property probably does not account for more than 5 percent of the assets looted. The vast majority of assets looted were private Jewish Property.[29]
See sample of unresolved issues on Jewish communal property in Appendix A.
2.4. ABANDONED JEWISH CULTURE: JEWISH CEMETERIES [30]
A large number of Jewish Cemeteries and Jewish mass graves (more than 20,000) were abandoned following the Shoah in Europe because there were no Jewish communities to care of them. Some of those cemeteries are ancient and of great historical value. Most of these cemeteries remain abandoned. Quite a few were taken over for commercial purposes.
A sample report on cemeteries in Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania, Poland, Russia, Hungary, Austria and Germany (East) reveals a grim picture.
2.5. THE LAW ON RESTITUTION OF JEWISH PROPERTY
The laws on Restitution of property, inclusive of Jewish property, in Europe and especially in Eastern Europe are rare. When they do exist, they are different in each country, difficult to follow, often there are requirements of citizenship, and often costly to act upon.[31]
The EU previously announced that it would form a framework for restitution of property in order to accommodate the new EU members from Eastern Europe.[32]
3. UNRESOLVED ISSUES (What needs to be done)
Even though over $8 billion of one- time payments were negotiated in various settlements (for Jewish property as well as for personal indemnification) during 1998-2001 (some to non-Jews) and a substantial part was paid and distributed, this is only a small part of the Jewish Material Damage during the Shoah. (see Appendix B for what has been done).[33]
The accomplishments achieved so far are incomplete. Some of those with whom agreements on Restitution were negotiated, have lost sight of the moral message {and their previous commitments} of this particular work and do the bare minimum.[34]
· There has been a loss of momentum in dealing with the hundreds of thousands of elderly victims, Shoah survivors, about ten percent of whom die each year. Any systematic delay in establishing settlement and disbursement processes or resolving disputes is therefore not just another bureaucratic hurdle. It is rather the difference between a dignified closing to a tragic period in their lives and an unrequited sense of the permanent denial of justice. These survivors deserve assistance for the needs of old age to alleviate their unabated suffering. [35]
There is much to be done in order to achieve some justice for Shoah survivors and their heirs.
3.1. RETURNING TO THE JEWISH PEOPLE
Some estimates suggest that no more than 20 percent of looted Jewish assets of all sorts – private and communal - were returned or compensated for after the Shoah.[36]
At the beginning of year 2004, there were 1,092,000 Shoah survivors living worldwide, inclusive of survivors from North African and Middle Eastern communities (Of them: 508,100 in Israel; 183,700 in FSU and East Europe; 184,700 in North America; 216,200 in other countries)[37]..
It is the Jewish people who were the major victims of the Nazi atrocities before and during World War II. The martyred dead cannot be returned alive, but whatever can be done to help Shoah survivors and future Jewish generations must be done. Whatever can be done for Shoah commemoration and education must also be done. This is the only way to achieve some justice [now] at this late date.
It is just and right that whatever belonged to the Jewish people should go back to the Jewish People. The distribution of heirless property among the Jewish People becomes then an issue for the Jewish people themselves.
3.2. RIGHT VALUE
The issue of the value of restituted property is extremely important. The historical pre-WWII value has little relevance today. Substantial work was done on this in the process of updating the value of insurance policies from the Shoah era (see Appendix B10). This can serve as a raw model for other types of restituted assets.[38]
3.3. RECORDING AND PUBLICATION
There is an urgent need for registration of Jewish Property in a centralized database that will serve as a resource and memorial for future generations of the Jewish heritage in Europe prior to WWII.
Reconciliation should be made between the database on Jewish Property and the names published recently by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem on the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names.[39] This task is urgent as long as first generation of Shoah survivors are among the living and can help.
All the information on Shoah assets must be made publicly available so that this and future generations understand the horrors of the past and that today’s and future Jewish families may be able to achieve a better understanding of the life of their ancestors and genealogical factors affecting the Jewish people. [40]
All information on the Shoah should be in the public domain. Unfortunately, there are many countries hiding behind the rubric of privacy laws material and embarrassing facts.[41]
3.4. JUDICIAL
Existing special legislation for restitution is spotty, inadequate, and poorly implemented.[42] There are often requirements of citizenship. Nevertheless, some countries enacted special legislation and some established special Foundations (see Appendix C5).
However, restitution issues were dealt with mostly by existing ordinary procedures and existing ordinary legislation. This does not appear to work. As the Shoah was not an ordinary event, it cannot be dealt with by ordinary means. Restitution can successfully be dealt with only by exceptional legal measures. In most countries, special, fast, and simple legislation is badly needed. Only extraordinary means will enable closure on the issues of restitution of Jewish property.
3.5. FOLLOW-UP ON RESOLUTIONS OF INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES

There is a need for follow-up on resolutions adopted at international conferences (Washington and Vilnius).[43] A great deal of multinational effort went into achieving these resolutions and they must be fully implemented.


3.6. FOLLOW-UP ON HISTORICAL COMMISSIONS AND RECONCILIATION
There is a need for follow- up on resolutions and recommendations of historical commissions and reconciliation bodies. In some countries, progress has been painstakingly slow.[44]
3.7. COORDINATED JEWISH DISTRIBUTION
Stuart Eizenstat suggested in his memo to the American court dealing with the Swiss banks litigation [45] to look at four substantial amounts of funds originating from Restitution. {He further suggested how to coordinate the distribution of those funds.} Eizenstat’s proposal could serve as a basis for the “big picture” thinking. {Such visionary thinking is} essential to help Shoah survivors, assist Shoah education and commemoration, and to ensure continuity and the future {existence} of the Jewish People. The four funds are those being distributed by: 1) ICHEIC (See Appendix B10); 2) the Claims Conference (See Appendix C2); 3) excess funds in the German, Austrian and French settlements (See Chapter 3.8; Appendix C5); 4) the Swiss banks settlement (See Appendix B9). [46]
3.8. FUTURE FUND OF JEWISH PEOPLE AND DIASPORA (HEIRLESS PROPERTY)
Several attempts were made in Israel to establish a Future Fund of the Jewish People and Diaspora and deposit into it heirless funds originating from Restitution. The attempts were made by proposed legislation in the Knesset[47] and by establishing and shelving a non-profit organization with the World Jewish Congress. Organizations of Shoah survivors insist that heirless funds should be used strictly to benefit needy survivors.[48]
3.9. FURTHER RESEARCH REQUIRED [49]
As this is the first report of its sort, further research is required in the following areas:
a. A country by country analysis of the Jewish Material Damage during the Shoah, inclusive of looted Jewish assets (see Appendix A).
b. A country by country analysis how much was paid back in each country during the post-war years and up to mid-1990s (the start of the renewed interest in restitution).
c. A country by analysis of what has been accomplished in returning or compensating for unpaid assets between the mid 1990s and 2008.
d. In rough numbers, what remained to be paid by each country.
e. Indicate the amounts provided to cover assets that never will be claimed by individuals because of time and the enormous loss of life during the Shoah. It should be pointed out that recent experience indicates that the bulk of assets will never be claimed and that these unclaimed funds are, and should be, devoted to humanitarian purposes, including both assistance for Shoah survivors and other activities.
f. Determine a uniform system to calculate current value of stolen Shoah era property. The way to do it maybe in a currency that has remained stable for the past 60 years such as the US dollars or the Swiss franc.
g. Provide a benchmark to measure the progress of property restitution.
h. The future of restitution depends on what has already been done in each country, and what needs to be done in various areas such as legislature, economics, politics etc. Professional evaluation needs to be done on each country.

3.10. NAZI IMPACT ON LIVES AND PROPERTY OF JEWS FROM NORTH AFRICA

Further research is required on the Nazi impact on the lives and the property of Jews from North Africa.[50]


3.11. NEXT STEPS
The Government of Israel resolved on formulating an overall multi-annual policy and annual action plan as follows:
a. An overall multi-annual policy - According to Government resolution #1250 of

December 28, 2003 (resolved unanimously).[51]


1) The Government of Israel will formulate an overall multi-annual policy regarding the restitution of Jewish rights and property in all fields and from all relevant countries of the world.
2) The State of Israel, in conjunction with Jewish organizations, will lead and coordinate the issue of restitution of private and communal Jewish rights and property, as well as the restitution of rights and property of Jews after the Holocaust, with or without heirs, in Israel and abroad, vis-a-vis domestic and foreign bodies, various organizations, Jewish communities involved in the subject, the Jewish Agency and government officials abroad, with the assistance and cooperation of various Jewish organizations, as required.
3) To establish a Ministerial Committee regarding the restitution of Jewish rights and property.
The Committee’s functions will be to formulate an overall policy, as mentioned in the above clauses 1 and 2, update this policy once a year and oversee all policy aspects of the restitution of Jewish property, subject to government policy on this matter and in accordance with Israel’s foreign policy. The overall policy and the annual plan will be presented to the Government before their implementation.
A Work Plan on Policy and Principles 2004-2008 and a Work plan for 2004-2008 relating to the Restitution of Rights to Jewish-owned Property were formulated by the Steering Committee (established according to paragraph 4 of the abovementioned resolution) in March of 2004, and submitted for review of WJRO, and the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, before bringing them for approval to the Ministerial Committee.
The leading goal was to have closure on as many as possible issues within the coming five years, while first generation Shoah survivors are alive.
b. Annual action plan – after the Ministerial Committee will approve the multi-

annual policy, an annual action plan for each of the five years needs to be

formulated, decided and agreed upon, with all relevant bodies and organizations

in Israel and abroad participating.


Division of labor for the annual action plan needs to be done according to the ability of the participants to bring closure on the issues at hand, within the framework agreed upon.

APPENDIX A - UNRESOLVED ISSUES: PROCESSES AND COUNTRY BY COUNTRY
A Country by Country “Combined Status” report is necessary and it requires further research. This “Combined Status” report should include at least all of the following:
A. The Jewish Material Damage during the Shoah

B. Communal Property

C. Private Property

D. Judicial

E. Foundations

F. Ongoing Activity

G. Unresolved Issues
Such combined status will enable each country to pinpoint areas it needs to concentrate on and deal with.
Each country should also pay attention how it is dealing with issues such as Historical Commissions and Reconciliation, Holocaust Denial, Shoah Commemoration and Education, as these reflect on restitution issues.
At this stage, unresolved issues only will be dealt with in this report, and not the full “Combined Status” of each country, which requires further research.
A1. UNRESOLVED ISSUES: FRAMEWORK FOR RESTITUTION
There is a need for a worldwide framework for restitution.[52] EU parliament passed a resolution in 2003 that an all-European institution will be established, in order to accommodate the new EU members from Eastern Europe, to supervise restitution of property, and serve as a mediator between the claimants and the current owners. The required regulation and uniform system for registration and cataloging was planned to be in place by the end of 2004[53].
So far the EU has not acted on restitution issues. As the Shoah happened in Europe, it is most desirable that the EU should act with priority intensity on restitution, and press accession countries to resolve it at once.
A2. UNRESOLVED ISSUES: ART
In art restitution, there has been some progress, particularly in the United States, Austria, and France. But serious research to locate looted Nazi art is underway in only about half a dozen of some forty countries that subscribed to the 1998 Washington Principles. Twenty-nine have done virtually no research at all.[54]
Where web sites have been established, they are in different languages and different designs, making a family's search for its treasures a passage through a labyrinth.
The Russian Federation holds the largest repository of Nazi-looted art. Yet in spite of its own law on restoration of looted art, Russia has made almost no progress in identifying their holdings despite repeated promises.[55]
A2. UNRESOLVED ISSUES: INSURANCE
Closure proceedings of ICHEIC (See Appendix B10).
A3. BURIAL OF JEWISH Shoah VICTIMS
An unknown number of Jewish Shoah victims in Europe were never buried. These were victims who were buried in mass graves or individually hunted or killed by the Nazis or by the local population. A special effort needs to be made to find and bury the remains of these victims while people who know about such instances are still alive.[56]
A4. UNRESOLVED ISSUES: COUNTRY BY COUNTRY

(IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER)
The list of unresolved issues presented here is far from being comprehensive. This

is a sample list and further research is required to detect all unresolved issues.


Quite a few countries have passed restitution laws. However there is often a very slow and bureaucratic process of actually getting the property returned.
UNRESOLVED ISSUES: AUSTRIA
Delay in release of settlement funds. Austria did not obtain, like Germany, “legal peace” in U.S. courts. After the U.S.-Austria settlement in 2001, a lawsuit was filed in the U.S. challenging the fairness of the settlement. Since these cases are still ongoing, Austria has refused to release settlement funds.
In November 2005, the last case was dismissed by a New York court, and the Austrian government subsequently began to mail letters to some of the 19,300 Holocaust survivors who applied for compensation payments. The letters informed the first 100 people how much they would receive after signing a waiver releasing Austria from further responsibility. In addition, the Austrian government and the provincial governments agreed to provide $40 million to support Austrian Jewish institutions.
According to Stuart Eizenstat, President Clinton's special representative on Holocaust-era issues, the feeling during negotiations with the Austrians was that “the traditional trial system never would have worked in the victims' lifetime.” Eizenstat noted that lawyers who opposed a non-trial settlement delayed the settlement and, during that time, the number of Austrian survivors declined from 21,000 to 13,000.
The government of Austria and a number of Austrian companies pledged to pay $210 million to endow the fund once all court cases against Austria relating to the Holocaust were resolved. The amount for property was limited to $2 million. This limitation is not in force in Germany; the German government thus far has paid out more than EUR1.5 billion in compensation.[58]
On June 6, 2008, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the district court's approval of the Settlement. Although appellants continue to challenge this ruling, Generali Insurance Company has started to review and process the tens of thousands of claims submitted by class members.
UNRESOLVED ISSUES: BOSNIA
Communal Property
The Jewish community in Sarajevo is seeking the return of four properties, including the Old Stone Synagogue which is now a City Museum. The aspirations of the Jewish Community are to regain “usage rights” rather than ownership. The various ethnic groups cannot agree on which of several property nationalizations should be reversed. There are other issues causing difficulties in creating an acceptable Restitution law.
No restitution laws exist [59], but there undoubtedly will be such laws eventually. Therefore, the Joint Distribution Committee provided Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, and Macedonia with grants, loans, and expertise for research to inventory Jewish community properties prior to World War II. [60]
Jakub Finci, chairman of the country's small Jewish community, estimated that about 2,000 apartments in the city belonged to Jewish families when they were nationalized by the socialist government of Marshal Josip Broz Tito after the war [61].
UNRESOLVED ISSUES: BULGARIA
Communal Property
Approximately 100 properties throughout Bulgaria have been returned to the Jewish community (“Organization of Jews in Bulgaria –Shalom”). However, one notable building at Suborna Street in the center of Sofia remains in government hands despite repeated court rulings that it should be returned to OJB Shalom. There is also the issue of the Rila hotel. There are also a handful of other unreturned buildings in smaller communities outside Sofia.
Several restitution laws have been enacted allowing both Bulgarian and non-Bulgarian citizens to claim [for] restitution of private property confiscated during the fascist and the communist periods. Non-citizens, however, must sell the property. Heirs are eligible to claim.
It is still possible to file certain claims under the so-called LRTERE law (Law on Reinstatement of Title of Expropriated Real Estate). While title automatically reverted back to original owner at enactment of this law without need to file a claim, potential claimants must still file a “request for possession” to regain physical possession of property. Such repossession is not always possible at this time.[62]





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