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 held three prior 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 surveyed developments since the Commission’s July 2002 hearing relating to the return of wrongfully confiscated properties in the region.
Particular attention was 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.