November 22, 2019
Regional Consultation on Restitution of Holocaust-Era Assets
At the beginning of December a regional conference on the restitution of Holocaust-era assets will be held in Vilnius. The experiences of returning assets of European countries will be reviewed and well-known historians will present their research about what happened in Lithuania during WWII.
The conference is dedicated to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Terezin declaration. In 2009, 47 countries, Lithuania among them, signed the document in Praha and announced a program of activities directed at securing assistance, compensation and commemoration of the memory of the victims of the Nazis. It’s noteworthy these countries stressed the importance of ensuring communal and individual property restitution.
“Noting the importance of restituting communal and individual immovable property that belonged to the victims of the Holocaust (Shoah) and other victims of Nazi persecution, the Participating States urge that every effort be made to rectify the consequences of wrongful property seizures, such as confiscations, forced sales and sales under duress of property, which were part of the persecution of these innocent people and groups, the vast majority of whom died heirless,” the Terezin declaration says.
According to Lithuanian Jewish Community (LJC) chairwoman Faina Kukliansky, ten years ago the Community welcomed Lithuanian decision to sign the aforementioned document. “Now we can state: the progress of all efforts is significant, but most often partial,” said F. Kukliansky.
The chairwoman emphasized the year 2020 was proclaimed the Year of Lithuanian Jewish History and the Vilna Gaon, and this was a perfect opportunity to mark success and identify best practices as well as pay attention to questions that still need solution.
Kukliansky said she regretted that at the same time this event has not attracted the attention of the highest Lithuanian officials and representatives of state institutions, although it could become a great platform to learn the experiences of other countries and meet with world-renowned Holocaust historians.
At the conference on December 2 in Vilnius, prominent diplomats and scientists, including participation by international lawyer Dirk Roland Haupt (Lund University), prof. Joachim Tauber (Hamburg University), Dr. Christoph Dieckmann (Bern University) and Rabbi Andrew Baker (American Jewish Committee). Jewish community leaders from the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Latvia and representatives of international Jewish organizations from the USA and Israel and ambassadors resident in Lithuania will be present.
The conference is being organized by the Goodwill Foundation in Lithuania which was founded for the purpose of administering Jewish communal property restitution funds.
The event is open to media but registration is required, see contact information indicated below. The event will begin at 10 A.M. The conference will take place at the Lithuanian Jewish Community, Pylimo street no. 4, Vilnius, Lithuania.