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Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Chairman
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
July 10, 2002


(Washington) - The United States Helsinki Commission will conduct a hearing on the state of property restitution in Central and Eastern Europe for American claimants.

Property Restitution in Central and Eastern Europe:
The State of Affairs for American Claimants
Tuesday, July 16, 2002
2:00 PM – 4:30 PM
334 Cannon House Office Building
Scheduled to testify:
  • Randolph Bell, Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, Department of State
  • Yehuda Evron, U.S. President, Holocaust Restitution Committee
  • Olga Jonas, Secretary, Free Czechoslovakia Fund
  • Mark Meyer, Attorney and Chairman, Romanian-American Chamber of Commerce
  • Israel Singer, President, Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and Co-Chairman, World Jewish Restitution Organization

A central element of Nazi and communist persecution in Central and Eastern Europe was the uncompensated confiscation of real and personal property from individuals and religious communities. The end of communist tyranny after 1990 sparked hope that governments in the region would redress the wrongful seizures of private and communal property, such as churches, synagogues, schools and hospitals.

This hearing will be the Commission’s third hearing on the issue of restitution and compensation for property seized during World War II and the communist-era in Central and Eastern Europe. This hearing will examine the key issues which remain in the process of returning wrongfully confiscated properties to individuals and religious communities in the region.

Witnesses will discuss the status of property restitution efforts in Europe, prospects for further advancements, and the U.S. Government’s policy and efforts with regard to property restitution and compensation issues. Particular attention will be given to the bureaucratic and legal obstacles faced by individuals and religious communities – with a primary focus on the treatment of U.S. citizen claimants – in seeking restitution of communal property, family homes, and/or land in the Czech Republic, Poland, and Romania.

An un-official transcript will be available on the Helsinki Commission’s Internet Web site at within 24 hours of the hearing.

The United States Helsinki Commission, an independent federal agency, by law monitors and encourages progress in implementing provisions of the Helsinki Accords. The Commission, created in 1976, is composed of nine Senators, nine Representatives and one official each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.

Media Contact: Ben Anderson
# # #


Czech Republic


Property Restitution
Rule of Law/Independence of Judiciary


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