The World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO), of which the World Jewish Congress is a founding member, has conducted a briefing for members of the European Parliament in Brussels on the issue of looted Holocaust-era assets. The event was organized by B’nai B’rith and hosted by the Romanian parliamentarian Ioan Enciu. The speakers addressed various aspects of the restitution issue, stressing the importance of the European Union in treating the matter as a region-wide problem.
Among the issues raised were EU Human Rights Charter articles relating to the right to property, the right to be treated equally before the law and the right to an effective remedy and a fair hearing. Also mentioned was the relevance of current EU discussions of standards for the treatment and rights of war crime victims, including the right to compensation without delay. Creating an informal European Parliament working group on this issue was among the proposals offered for future activity.
Speakers at the event included David Peleg, WJRO director general; Julius Berman, chairman of the Claims Conference; Daniel Mariaschin, executive vice-president of B'nai B'rith International; Herbert Block, assistant executive vice president of the Joint Distribution Committee; and Douglas Davidson, the State Department’s top official dealing with Holocaust issues.