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Property Restitution and Compensation in Post-Communist Europe: A Status Update

Member

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Hon. Chris Smith

Chairman

Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe

Witnesses

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Dr. Vladislav Bevc

Executive Officer

American Owners of Property in Slovenia

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Mr. Jehuda Evron

President

Holocaust Restitution Committee

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Mr. Marko S. Rakocevic

President

Hungarian Human Rights Foundation

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Mr. Israel Singer

Co-Chairman / President

World Jewish Restitution Organization / Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany

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Prof. Inka Stritar

President

Slovenian Association of Former Owners of Expropriated Property

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Mr. Mihai A. Vinatoru

President

Committee for Private Property, Inc.

The importance of this briefing, which then ranking member of the Commission Senator Benjamin L. Cardin presided over, was underscored by the fact that a central element of Nazi and communist persecution in Central and Eastern Europe was the uncompensated confiscation of real and personal property from individual and religious communities. Communism’s demise in 1990 sparked hope that regional governments would redress wrongful seizures of private and communal property.

This briefing was the fourth hearing that the Helsinki Commission held whose focus was on the issue of restitution and compensation for property seized during the Second World War and in Communist era Central and Eastern Europe. A goal of the briefing, then, was to survey developments since the CSCE’s July 2002 hearing relating to the return of wrongfully confiscated properties in the region.

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