Media Contact: Elizabeth Pryor
(Washington) - The United States Helsinki Commission will hold a briefing on the state of property restitution and compensation in post-communist Europe.
Property Restitution and Compensation in Post-Communist Europe:
A Status Update
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
334 Cannon House Office Building
Scheduled to participate:
Ambassador Randolph Bell, Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, Department of State
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.
The Helsinki Commission has held three hearings on the issue of restitution and compensation for property seized during World War II and the communist-era in Central and Eastern Europe. This briefing will survey developments since the Commission's July 2002 hearing relating to the return of wrongfully confiscated properties in the region.
Particular attention will be given to the progress, or lack thereof, in the Czech Republic, Poland, and Romania in removing the bureaucratic and legal obstacles faced by individuals--including U.S. citizen claimants--and religious communities seeking restitution of communal property, family homes, and/or land.
An un-official transcript will be available on the Helsinki Commission's Internet web site at http://www.csce.gov within 24 hours of the briefing.
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.