WASHINGTON - Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) expressed their support today for the goals and objectives of the Holocaust Era Assets Conference to take place next week in Prague.
The Senate Thursday passed a resolution, authored by Senator Cardin (S. Con. Res. 23), applauding the Czech Republic for hosting the conference and participating countries for seeking justice for Holocaust survivors.
“The Holocaust left a scar that will not be removed by the Prague conference,” Chairman Cardin said. “But this upcoming gathering provides an opportunity for governments to make tangible and meaningful progress in addressing this painful chapter of history. I commend the Czech Republic for taking on the leadership of organizing this meeting and welcome the appointment of Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat, former Treasury Deputy Secretary and former Department of State Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, to head the U.S. Delegation to the Holocaust Era Assets Conference. Ambassador Eizenstat is singularly qualified to represent the United States at this historic gathering.”
Co-Chairman Hastings said, “It is imperative that the international community work together to mitigate the lingering injustices from the Holocaust. While outstanding Holocaust-era issues continue to plague our society, this conference is a meaningful and significant step towards resolving decades-old challenges families of victims still face. The theft of property -- homes, businesses, and religious institutions – resulted not just in material losses, but was an element of the crime of genocide. Millions of lives can never be restored, but more can be done to restore those things wrongfully taken from victims, their families and communities.”
The conference runs June 26 through June 30, 2009 to honor Holocaust remembrance and review progress made in the areas of property restitution or financial compensation for looted objects of value.
The full text of Chairman Cardin’s Congressional Record Statement can be found here.
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 56 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.