Schumer Cosponsors Bipartisan Legislation To Advance Restitution Of Assets Stolen By...

Schumer Cosponsors Bipartisan Legislation To Advance Restitution Of Assets Stolen By Nazis From Holocaust Victims

US Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer of New York speaks about how to reform the Democratic party agenda to counter the influence of the Tea Party wing of the Republican party during a speech at the Center for American Progress (CAP) in Washington, DC, January 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act Will Help Holocaust Survivors & Families of Holocaust Victims By Requiring the State Dept. Report on Progress of The Return of or Restitution for Nazi-Confiscated Assets

US Senator Charles E. Schumer last week announced he is a co-sponsor of the Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act. The bipartisan bill was introduced by US Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) and US Representatives Joe Crowley (D-NY) and Chris (R-NJ). The JUST Act will assist Holocaust survivors and the families of Holocaust victims in requiring the reporting on acts of certain foreign countries on Holocaust-era assets and related issues.

“For decades, Holocaust survivors and family members of those who perished have sought whatever small measures of justice they could for the horrific crimes committed against them, and it is our moral duty to help them achieve a measure of justice,” said Senator Schumer. “The JUST Act is a drop of justice in what was an ocean of injustice, as it will help in the restitution of or the return of Nazi-confiscated assets stolen during the Holocaust. This bill not only makes eminent sense, it is the morally right thing to do and I urge my colleagues to pass this bill.”

More than 70 years after the Holocaust, the restitution of Jewish communal, private, and heirless property in Central and Eastern Europe remains unresolved. Schumer explained that the Nazis not only sought to kill Jews in Europe, they sought to destroy their heritage: Synagogues were destroyed, books were burned, and art and property were stolen. Today, real properties confiscated by the Nazis and their collaborators have not yet been returned, nor has compensation been provided to the rightful owners or their heirs.

The JUST Act will build on the international Terezin Declaration on Holocaust Era Assets and Related Issues of 2009, which affirms that the protection of property rights is an essential component of a democratic society based on the rule of law, and recognizes the importance of restituting or compensating Holocaust-related confiscations made during the Holocaust era, between 1933 and 1945. Unfortunately, many nations that endorsed this declaration, including many of our NATO allies, have not fully addressed the restitution of Jewish communal, private, and heirless property.

The JUST Act permanently amends current law to require the State Department to report on certain countries’ compliance with and progress toward the goals of the 2009 Terezin Declaration on Holocaust Era Assets, as well as on what actions those countries are taking to resolve the claims of US citizens. This will enhance ongoing US efforts to urge Central and Eastern European countries to achieve progress on this issue and will help build on America’s commitment to ensuring justice for Holocaust victims and their families.

The JUST Act has received strong support from organizations across the country, including the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO), American Jewish Committee (AJC), Anti-Defamation League (ADL), J Street, Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), B’nai B’rith International, HIAS refugee assistance organization, National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry, the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, and the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation in Milwaukee.

The JUST Act is also cosponsored by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John McCain (R-AZ), Ed Markey (D-MA), John Thune (R-SD), Gary Peters (D-MI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).