Israel launches bid to reclaim Holocaust assets
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel on Sunday launched a commission to track down property taken from Holocaust victims across Europe and get compensation for wartime losses.
The Holocaust Era Asset Restitution Task Force or “HEART” is the first official Israeli effort in decades to reclaim assets of Jews killed by the Nazis.
Germany has paid reparations to many survivors since the 1950s. But Israel says many claims have not been settled.
“Most East European countries have yet to restore the property and rights plundered from the Jews during the Holocaust,”Leah Ness, a deputy cabinet minister in charge of the project told journalists.
The commission was launched on the eve of Israel’s annual memorial for the six million victims of the genocide.
A printed statement from the Commission said a list of more than 500,000 property records had already been compiled and was available on its website.
In a recorded message, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged his support for the effort brokered by the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency headed by former Soviet-era prisoner Natan Sharansky.
Netanyahu said the commission was “fighting against the clock” as survivors aged and died.
(Editing by Andrew Heavens)