WJRO Croatia Operations
Approximately 40,000 Jews lived in the region of Croatia prior to the Holocaust, while about 1,700 currently live there (with over half residing in Zagreb).
In 1996, Croatia passed the Law on Restitution/Compensation of Property Appropriated During Yugoslav Communist Rule (amended in 2002) to address the restitution of communal and private real property. The restitution claims processes established under the law have operated exceedingly slowly and, with regard to private property, makes it impossible for many Jewish former property owners to obtain restitution or related compensation.
WJRO has urged Croatia to resolve the problems faced by Jewish former property owners, return remaining communal properties, and establish a foundation for the return of heirless Jewish property.
The Jewish Communities in the Republic of Croatia submitted claims for 135 communal properties under the Act on Restitution/Compensation of Property Confiscated During the Yugoslav Communist Rule (1996, amended in 2002), but only a limited number of non-cemetery properties have been returned. In December 2014, the government took the long-awaited step of providing a substitute property in partial compensation for property owned by the Chevra Kadisha (burial society) before the Holocaust.
The process for the restitution of private property suffers from a number of problems, including the following:
- Property confiscated prior to May 1945 is not covered by the law.
- Only partial compensation is provided (in inverse proportion to the value of the property) in 20-year government bonds and no payment provided for demolished buildings.
- Claimants are required to be Croatian citizens or citizens of a country with a bilateral treaty with Croatia.
Croatia has no law for the restitution of confiscated heirless property.
Relevant Press Releases and News
WJRO Helps to Secure Property Restitution For Croatian Jewish Community, December 3, 2014
Croatia giving Zagreb Jews $4 million property in Holocaust restitution, JTA, December 3, 2014