U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is once again teaming up with U.S Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., to ensure property seized by Nazi Germany and its allies during the Holocaust will be restored to families.
Rubio teamed up Baldwin in the Senate and U.S. Reps. Chris Smith, R-NJ, and U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley, D-NY, to bring back the “Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act” on Friday. The sponsors, who originally introduced the legislation back in June, insist the bill “will improve efforts to assist Holocaust survivors and the families of Holocaust victims by requiring the State Department to report on the progress of certain European countries on the return of (or restitution for), wrongfully confiscated or transferred Holocaust-era assets.”
“Seventy years after World War II, when Nazis and their collaborators illegally confiscated Jews’ property in Central and Eastern Europe, this theft remains a largely unresolved issue and a source of lasting pain for many Holocaust survivors and their heirs,” Rubio said. “This bipartisan legislation will help address this lasting injustice from a dark chapter in human history by facilitating the restitution of Jewish communal, private and heirless property. American leadership on this issue is vital, and I’m proud to join Senator Baldwin in introducing this bill.”
“We’re taking bipartisan action to ensure justice, which has been put off for far too long,” said Baldwin. “Tragically, we are losing survivors every day, and it is my sincere hope that this legislation, by shining a spotlight and solidifying this issue as an American foreign policy priority, will spur action in countries that are falling short of their obligations, ultimately resulting in a measure of justice for these individuals who have waited far too long.”
Rubio and Baldwin rounded up a host of senators to support the measure as Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, John McCain of Arizona and John Thune of South Dakota and Democrat U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Dianne Feinstein of California, Kristen Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer of New York, Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Gary Peters of Michigan are co-sponsors.
The new legislation would continue efforts from the Terezin Declaration on Holocaust Era Assets and Related Issues of 2009 which “affirms that the protection of property rights is an essential component of a democratic society based on the rule of law and recognizes the importance of restituting or compensating Holocaust-related confiscations made during the Holocaust-era between 1933-45.” The bill would have the State Department report on how Central and Eastern European counties are complying with those efforts.
The bill has the support of the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO), the American Jewish Committee (AJC), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), J Street, Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), B’nai B’rith International, HIAS refugee assistance organization, Milwaukee Jewish Federation and the Jewish Home and Care Center Foundation in Milwaukee.
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