Prior to the Holocaust, approximately 230,000 Jews lived in present-day Moldova. It is estimated that 130,000 of them were murdered during the Holocaust. Jewish property was systematically looted and nationalized, including homes, religious sites, synagogues and educational institutions.
Moldova endorsed the 2009 Terezin Declaration on Holocaust Era Assets, which commits countries to the restitution of Jewish communal and private property.
Moldova’s 1992 Law Concerning the Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Repressions as well as its subsequent amendments, does not on its face include Holocaust-era confiscations. While the law provides in part for restitution, or compensation to those Moldovan citizens who could prove a causal connection between political, national, religious, or social repression and the subsequent property seizure, the Law specifically refers to victims of the Soviet regime.
The Government often failed to fund the special commissions it established to examine restitution and compensation applications. It is unclear how many individual claimants ultimately received compensation. The European Court of Human Rights has decided several cases against Moldova on the issue of property rights.
Moldova has not passed legislation to return communal property. In the absence of a legal framework to address property that was expropriated and confiscated during the Holocaust and its aftermath, properties have been returned on an ad hoc basis to the different religious communities in Moldova.
However, to date, the Government of Moldova has not restituted, nor has it provided compensation for any Jewish communal properties. The Jewish community was able to recover through repurchase a limited number of buildings, although not the land underneath them.
Moldova has no law for the restitution of confiscated, heirless Jewish property.
Resources and Links
ESLI Overview of Immovable Property Restitution/Compensation Regimes – Moldova
European Shoah Legacy Institute
July, 2020 – Moldova – Contents on page 116