'Time is running out to restore Holocaust survivors' property'

President Rivlin says justice demands property stolen from Holocaust victims be returned while there are still survivors around.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Rivlin and Gamliel
Rivlin and Gamliel
צילום: דוברות המשרד לשוויון חברתי

President Reuven Rivlin spoke Thursday at a meeting dealing with the issue of the return of property stolen from Jewish owners during the Holocaust.

The meeting was attended by MK Gila Gamliel (Likud), Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the World Jewish Restitution Organization Abe Bidelman, and Foreign Ministry Director-General Yuval Rotem.

Also present at the meeting were the Ambassador of Germany, the Ambassador of the European Union, the Deputy Ambassador of the United Kingdom, a representative of the US embassy, a representative of the French Embassy and the Special Envoy of the French Government for the restoration of Jewish property in Europe.

"We cannot bring justice in the face of such inhuman injustices, the evil with which the Jewish people was faced during the Holocaust," the President said. "What justice can we bring for the children who remained in the snow while their family was murdered before their eyes? What justice can be brought after the murder of six million people? We will not be able to bring them back."

"We emerged out of the Holocaust. The Jewish people have a home and an army to protect it, a strong economy and a thriving Jewish culture, but the scars of the Holocaust will never heal," Rivlin said.

"It is a common saying that 'crime does not pay,'" he added. "Many people have committed crimes during the Holocaust, and it did pay for them. We must not allow this. We must return the stolen property. We should not forget that time is running out. There are fewer than 400,000 survivors alive today. Half of them live in Israel and [half] live around the world, many in countries whose representatives are here. It is our duty to ensure the welfare of the Holocaust survivors."

"We have come a long way in identifying survivors' rights and restoring their property. In 2009, 47 countries signed the Terizin Declaration. We went very far in Serbia and Romania, but there is still a lot of work to do."



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