H.Res.557 - Expressing support for U. S. government efforts to identify Holocaust-era assets, urging the restitution of individual and communal property, and for other purposes.105th Congress (1997-1998)
Summary: H.Res.557 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)
Introduced in House (09/28/1998)
Recognizes the great responsibility which the United States has to Holocaust survivors and their families, many of whom are American citizens, to continue to treat the issue of Holocaust-era assets as a high priority and to encourage other governments to do the same.
Commends: (1) U.S. Government agencies for their untiring efforts and for the example they have set, including the publication of the May 1997 and June 1998 reports on U.S. and Allied Efforts to Recover or Restore Gold and Other Assets Stolen or Hidden by Germany in World War II and the efforts to return such assets to their rightful owners; (2) those organizations which have played a critical role in the effort to assure compensation, restitution, or both for survivors of the Holocaust, and in particular to the World Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Restitution Organization; (3) those countries which have instituted procedures for the restitution of individual and communal property confiscated from Holocaust victims (and urges those governments which have not established such procedures to adopt fair and transparent legislation and regulations necessary for such restitution); (4) those countries which have established significant commissions to conduct research into matters relating to Holocaust-era assets, to assure that information developed by these commissions is publicly available, to complete their major historical research efforts, and to contribute to the major funds established to benefit needy Holocaust survivors no later than December 31, 1999; and (5) those countries and organizations which have opened their archives and made public records and documents relating to the Nazi era (and urges all countries and organizations to assure that all materials relating to that era are fully accessible to the public).
Welcomes the convening of the Washington Conference on Holocaust- Era Assets later this year by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Department of State.
Urges: (1) countries in transition in Central and Eastern Europe to remove certain citizenship or residency prerequisites for individual survivors of the Holocaust seeking restitution of confiscated property; (2) all countries to develop and include as a part of their educational curriculum material on the Holocaust, the history of the Second World War, the evils of discrimination and the persecution of racial, ethnic, or religious minorities, and the consequences of the failure to respect human rights; and (3) countries, especially Israel, Russia, Poland, and other Central and East European nations, and organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and Israel's Jewish Agency to coordinate efforts to help reunite family members separated during the Holocaust.
Notes that former Communist countries which seek to become members of the North Atlantic Alliance and other international organizations must recognize that a part of the process of international integration involves the enactment of laws which safeguard and protect property rights that are similar to those in democratic countries.
Expresses congressional appreciation for the efforts of the Government of Germany for successfully concluding an agreement with the Conference on Material Claims Against Germany on matters concerning restitution for Holocaust survivors from Central and Eastern Europe who have not yet received restitution, and urges the German Government to continue to negotiate with the Claims Conference to expand the eligibility criteria to ensure that all needy Holocaust survivors receive restitution.