On July 29, the Department of State released a report to Congress pursuant to the Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act of 2017, which was adopted by Congress with broad, bipartisan support and signed into law by President Trump in May 2018.
The JUST Act Report highlights the important actions taken by countries to provide restitution of or compensation for property confiscated during the Holocaust era or subsequently nationalized during the Communist era, consistent with commitments those countries undertook when they endorsed the Terezin Declaration at the conclusion of the Prague Holocaust Era Assets Conference in June 2009. The report also describes the vital work that countries are doing to commemorate the Holocaust, open archives, and promote Holocaust education in order to honor survivors and victims and to ensure such atrocities never happen again.
As we mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust and more than 10 years after the adoption of the Terezin Declaration, the legacy of the Nazis’ mass looting and subsequent Communist-era nationalizations of such property, remains largely unaddressed in too many places.
The Report details the critical work that remains to be done to provide a belated measure of justice to Holocaust survivors and their families, and to Jewish communities destroyed by the Holocaust. Given the advanced age of Holocaust survivors around the world – many of whom live in or near poverty – the need for action is urgent. All victims of the Nazi regime should be able to live out their remaining days in dignity.
When President Trump signed a landmark Executive Order on combatting anti-Semitism in December 2019, he also stressed the importance of strengthening restitution efforts. I am proud of the Department of State’s work in this area, which is led by our Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, and I will continue to make it a priority.