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Romanian government approves Holocaust restitution legislation

The legislation is expected to help speed the processing of more than 40,000 claims filed before a deadline in 2003.

By
Stephen Feller
Elie Wiesel (bottom, center), a Romania-born American novelist, political activist and Holocaust survivor, is recognized as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC, March 3, 2015. Wiesel has been campaigning for several years for Romania for Tuesday's approval legislation to speed the processing of restitution claims, of which more than 40,000 by Romanian Jews have not yet been addressed. File photo by Molly Riley/UPI
Elie Wiesel (bottom, center), a Romania-born American novelist, political activist and Holocaust survivor, is recognized as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington DC, March 3, 2015. Wiesel has been campaigning for several years for Romania for Tuesday's approval legislation to speed the processing of restitution claims, of which more than 40,000 by Romanian Jews have not yet been addressed. File photo by Molly Riley/UPI | License Photo

BUCHAREST, Romania, May 10 (UPI) -- The Romanian government approved legislation Tuesday to speed up the processing of restitution claims for property lost by Holocaust survivors in the country, most of whom are in their 80s and 90s.

The legislation, considered another step in Romania acknowledging its role in the the death of hundreds of thousands of Romanian Jews during its alliance with Germany during World War 2, the Jerusalem Post reported.

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Before the war, about 800,000 Jews lived in Romania, however 280,000 to 380,000 died after their land and property were seized and they were sent to ghettos or labor camps.

Tens of thousands of restitution claims have been filed since the fall of Romania's communist government in 1989, with more than 40,000 still unaddressed right now.

"This is important because the legislation addresses not only the practical problems, but also acknowledges the history, which is essential," Gideon Taylor, chairman of the World Jewish Restitution Organization, told The New York Times.

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