23 February 2011
A new Holocaust era restitution project has been launched with the aim to identify the victims whose assets were confiscated by the Nazis. Project HEART, an initiative of the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) with the support of the Government of Israel and the Holocaust Era Asset Restitution Taskforce, aims to provide the tools, strategy, and information to bring about a small measure of justice to eligible heirs of Jewish victims, the victims themselves, and the Jewish people.
The project focuses on identifying individuals with potential claims regarding the following types of private property for which no restitution was received after the Holocaust era, inclduing private property located in countries that were controlled by the Nazi forces or Axis powers during the Holocaust era, private property that belonged to Jews as defined by Nazi racial laws; and private property that was confiscated, looted, or forcibly sold by the Nazi forces or Axis powers during the Holocaust era.
"Many victims of the Holocaust returned to their homes to find that they had no ability to recover their own property," said JAFI Chairman Natan Sharansky, adding: "Project HEART is a general comprehensive program that is launched to gather information with the eventual purpose of receiving compensation for property looted, stolen, or forcibly sold during the Holocaust."
Jewish Shoah victims and their heirs worldwide whose families owned movable, immovable, or intangible personal property that was confiscated, looted, or forcibly sold in countries governed or occupied by the Nazi forces or Axis powers during the Holocaust era are eligible. The only limitation for application is if restitution has been made to a victim or the victim's heirs for that property after the Holocaust era; then they are not eligible for further restitution in connection with that property.
"It is not necessary to have evidence of property ownership to be eligible to apply. If individuals believe they owned or were beneficiaries of such property, they should fill out the Questionnaire," stated project director Anya Verkhovskaya. To participate, individuals only need to fill out the questionnaire that may be found on the project's website, which then be processed based on agreements with relevant governments or authorities in their efforts to achieve restitution.
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