Briefing on Holocaust Restitution Held at European Parliament; Potential Working Group, Human Rights Charter and Standards for War Victims among Issues Raised
The World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO), of which B’nai B’rith International is a founding member, conducted a briefing for members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from across the political spectrum on the issue of Holocaust-era assets that have not been repaid. B’nai B’rith International’s Office of European Union Affairs organized the event along with B’nai B’rith Europe. It was hosted by MEP Ioan Enciu of Romania, and moderated by B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin.
The program speakers addressed various aspects of the restitution issue, stressing the importance of the European Union in treating the matter as a region-wide problem. Attendees also received an up-to-date briefing on the status of negotiations in many E.U. member and other European countries.
Among the issues raised were E.U. 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 E.U. 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 Ambassador David Peleg, the WJRO director general; Julius Berman, chairman of the Claims Conference; Herbert Block, assistant executive vice president of the Joint Distribution Committee; and Ambassador Douglas Davidson, the State Department’s top official dealing with Holocaust issues.
Serving as resource experts for the meeting were Arie Bucheister, senior restitution specialist of the Claims Conference, Wesley Fisher, director of research of the Claims Conference, Michael Thaidigsmann of the World Jewish Congress and Nuno Wahnon Martins, director of the B’nai B’rith Office of European Union Affairs.
See where B'nai B'rith International stands on the issues.