A new Holocaust era restitution project was announced on February 23, to identify the victims whose assets were confiscated by the Nazis.
An initiative of the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), with the support of the Government of Israel, Project HEART – Holocaust Era Asset Restitution Taskforce –aims to provide the tools, strategy, and information to enable the Government of Israel, the project, and its partners to bring about a small measure of justice to eligible heirs of Jewish victims, the victims themselves, and the Jewish people.
At this initial stage, Project HEART is focusing on identifying individuals with potential claims regarding the following types of private property for which no restitution was received after the Holocaust era: (1) private property that was located in countries that were controlled by the Nazi forces or Axis powers at any time during the Holocaust era; and (2) private property that belonged to Jewish persons as defined by Nazi/Axis racial laws; and (3) private property that was confiscated, looted, or forcibly sold by the Nazi forces or Axis powers during the Holocaust era.
“Many victims of the Holocaust returned to their homes to find that they had no ability to recover their own property,” said Natan Sharansky, Jewish Agency for Israel’s Chairman. “Project HEART is a general comprehensive program that is launched to gather information with the eventual purpose of receiving compensation for property looted, stolen, or forcibly sold during the Holocaust.”
Jewish Holocaust victims and their heirs worldwide whose families owned movable, immovable or intangible personal property that was confiscated, looted or forcibly sold in countries governed or occupied by the Nazi forces or Axis powers during the Holocaust era are eligible. The only limitation for application is if restitution has been made to a victim or the victim’s heirs for that property after the Holocaust era; then they are not eligible for further restitution in connection with that property.
“It is not necessary to have evidence of property ownership to be eligible to apply. If individuals believe they owned or were beneficiaries of such property, they should fill out the questionnaire,” stated Anya Verkhovskaya, Project Director.
Eligible properties for Project HEART include private properties of all kinds:
(1) IMMOVABLE PROPERTY, an item of property that cannot be moved without destroying or altering it. This includes items of real estate such as developed land, including any buildings on it, and land without buildings.
(2) MOVABLE PROPERTY, any property that can be moved from one location to another. This may include art, Judaica, livestock, professional tools, precious metals, precious stones, jewelry and other movable property.
(3) INTANGIBLE PERSONAL PROPERTY, personal property that cannot actually be moved, touched or felt but instead represents something of value. This may include negotiable instruments such as stocks, bonds, insurance policies, savings accounts, registered patents, dowry policies and other intangible personal property. It may also include negative assets—debts and liabilities owed to the individual—such as outstanding loans and mortgages.
“Because of the immeasurable damage that was done to Jewish individuals and communities from the time their property was confiscated, Project HEART was put together as an initiative to reach out to those whose pain we can never imagine, but whom we can assist in the process of gathering data, which will hopefully and ultimately aid them in retrieving what is rightfully theirs,” said Bobby Brown of JAFI. “Belated, yet vital steps to partially redress the terrible wrongdoing committed during the Holocaust era in relation to asset restitution are now being taken with Project HEART.”
A simple eligibility process has been established. To participate, individuals only need to fill out the questionnaire that may be found on the website http://www.heartwebsite.org.
Questionnaires will be processed based on agreements with relevant governments or authorities in their efforts to achieve restitution.
Contact Anya Verkhovskaya, Project HEART Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1‑414‑961-7417 or visit http://www.heartwebsite.org for more information.