INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE AT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT IN STRASBOURG HIGHLIGHTS HOLOCAUST ERA PROPERTY RESTITUTION
Resolution to Accelerate Return of Plundered Property to Holocaust Victims and Jewish Communities Introduced
(Strasbourg, France,) September 13, 2022: Charles Goerens, Member of the European Parliament (Luxembourg, Renew) and European Alliance for Holocaust Survivors (EAHS) Chair, will host an international conference, “Unfinished Justice: The Vital Role of Holocaust Era Restitution and History for Europe Today” with participation of Amb. Haim Regev, Head of the Mission of Israel to the EU and NATO, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, raising awareness on the importance of restitution, exploring solutions to advance it, and defining the role the European Parliament can play in the process.
The conference will feature two panels. The first panel, “Why Holocaust era restitution is important and what can be done to advance it,” will feature speakers Amb. Dan Haezrachy, Special Envoy on Holocaust Issues, Israel, Daniel Holtgen, Director of Communications and Special Representative on Antisemitic and Anti Muslim Hate at the Council of Europe, Amb. Dr. Robert Řehák, Special Envoy for Holocaust, Interfaith Dialogue and Freedom of Religion or Belief, Czech Republic, Emile Schrijver, General Director of Jewish Cultural Quarter (JCK), and Mark Weitzman, Chief Operating Officer, World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO), USA.
The second panel, “Success stories and the role the European Parliament can play in moving forward,” will feature speakers Amb. Colette Avital, Chairperson of the Center Organization of Holocaust Survivors in Israel, Charles Goerens, Member of the European Parliament (Luxembourg, Renew) and European Alliance for Holocaust Survivors (EAHS) Chair, Dmitry Krupnikov, Chairman of the Council of the Latvian Jewish Community Restitution Fund (LEKOREF), Latvia, and Laurent Moyse, President, Luxembourg Foundation for the Remembrance of the Shoah.
“Property restitution or compensation is about justice and fairness and setting straight the historical record,” said Mark Weitzman, Chief Operating Officer, World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO). “This conference is a great opportunity to find solutions and garner political support of the European Parliament and its Member States so that aging Holocaust survivors can live their lives with dignity they deserve. I am proud to be part of this endeavor today that is raising awareness and hopefully take action on Holocaust era property restitution in advance of November’s International Terezin II Conference in Prague.”
“For Holocaust survivors, restitution of property is an acknowledgement of the destruction of their families and an opportunity to restore and reconnect with at least a part of a life that was so wrongfully taken from them,” said Gideon Taylor, Chair of Operations, World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO). “We urge the European Parliament to continue to do everything possible to give survivors and their families the peace and dignity they deserve and help them secure what is rightly theirs.”
“I call on all states to address this dark chapter of history,” said Vice-President of the European Parliament Katarina Barley. “Holocaust era property restitution is a human rights issue and I encourage European states to act swiftly to bring justice to Holocaust survivors and their families.”
“It has been almost 80 years since the end of the Holocaust, but sadly survivors and their families wait for the return of their property that was wrongly taken during WWII,” said Charles Goerens, Member of the European Parliament (Luxembourg, Renew) and European Alliance for Holocaust Survivors (EAHS), Chair. “It is my hope that my fellow members of the European Parliament will work towards achieving the principles set out in the Terezin Declaration.”
During the conference, MEP Goerens, with support from Renew Europe, will introduce a resolution that urges Member of the European Parliament to accelerate the return of plundered property to Holocaust victims and Jewish communities. The resolution is the result of efforts led by WJRO and MEP Charles Goerens and Renew Europe. The resolution calls on Member States to recommit to the principles of the 2009 Terezin Declaration on Holocaust Era Assets and will be up for a vote in October.
The event is made possible by support from Renew Europe and in partnership with the European Alliance for Holocaust Survivors (EAHS), a coalition of Members of the European Parliament committed to issues impacting Holocaust survivors.
The resolution and conference are part of an effort to highlight Holocaust era property restitution in advance of the International Terezín Declaration Conference in the Czech Republic in Prague and Terezin on November 2-4, 2022. This upcoming event, organized by the Czech Office of the Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, Interfaith Dialogue and FoRB, is bringing together international government officials, Holocaust experts, and participants discussing Holocaust era property restitution and related issues. The conference is scheduled to be one of the main events of the Czech Presidency of the European Union.
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