Countries back Jewish property restitution

June 30, 2009 at 11:16 AM
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PRAGUE, Czech Republic, June 30 (UPI) -- A document signed by 46 countries urges them to pay or return property seized from Jews by Nazis during World War II, officials said Tuesday.

The document is not legally binding but is seen as an important moral obligation to speed up the process of property restitution, Stuart Eizenstat, leader of a U.S. delegation, told a Holocaust victims' conference in Prague.

Eizenstat told the conference Monday too many Nazi-looted Jewish artworks remain in private collections and museums all over the world.

The June 26-30 conference, organized by the Czech presidency of the European Union, proposed the foundation of the European Institute of Holocaust Legacy as a forum representing Holocaust victims, the Ceske Noviny reported Tuesday.

Alexandr Vondra, former Czech minister for European affairs, suggested the Holocaust legacy institute be situated in the town of Terezin, the 18th century fortress system 35 miles northwest of Prague, the Czech news agency CTK said.

Vondra noted the citadel of Terezin was one of the Jewish ghettos where the Nazis herded Jews before transporting them to death camps during World War II.

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