The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill to help Holocaust survivors and the families of victims obtain restitution or the return of Holocaust-era assets, JTA reported.
The measure, known as The Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act, requires the State Department to report on the progress of certain European countries toward the return of or restitution for wrongfully confiscated or transferred Holocaust-era assets, including property, art and other movable property.
It also requires a report specifically on progress on the resolution of claims for U.S. citizen Holocaust survivors and family members.
The Senate unanimously approved its version of the bill in December. Lead sponsors are Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).
The bill now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature.
The World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) welcomed the approval of the legislation.
“This is a powerful statement of America’s unwavering commitment to supporting Holocaust survivors in their quest for justice,” said Gideon Taylor, WJRO Chair of Operations. “We thank the Senate and House, and particularly Senators Baldwin and Rubio and Representatives Crowley and Smith, for their heartfelt leadership on this issue.”
In response to the passage of the JUST Act, Irene Weiss, an Auschwitz survivor from the former Czechoslovakia who now lives in Virginia, described the meaning of the bill to her.
“My family had property – a house, land and a lumber business – that was taken from us and for which we were never granted restitution or justice. I have memories of a wonderful childhood, which the Nazis and their collaborators shattered during World War II. The property owned by my family is the only connection I have to those memories and to my past,” she said.