Dutch Jews Making Rapid Strides in Securing Return of Confiscated Property

The restoration to Jews in Holland of their forever rights, positions and property is being accomplished at a rate in keeping with the political, social, and economic recovery of the country. Their political rights have been restored, and the Netherlands Government is making great strides toward restoring them to their former positions and returning land, houses, businesses, and other property.

Jews who were ousted from positions in official and semi-official agencies have been rehired. Included among these are public officials in city councils, higher government posts, and employees in utilities such as telegraph and telephone agencies.

The problem of Jews who were employed in private industry has not been settled quite as easily. Unofficial surveys tend to establish that most private employers have rehired their Jewish employees when the volume of business made it possible to add new employees to their staffs, but in many factories and offices extreme short-ages banger business recovery and employment requirements have not increased sufficiently for the hiring of new employees.

The restitution of real estate, large-scale enterprises such as factories, and land is proceeding at a much slower pace. Under “Law 100″ of the “Laws of Recovery,” enacted shortly after the liberation, all German legal and illegal seizures of Jewish property were annulled. In practice, however, it does not work out as simply as that. Jewish property, after seizure, was sold to other parties, some of whom were not collaborators and bought it in good faith. In order to establish legal ownership and to recompense innocent parties in such cases a special investigating and judiciary body has been established–the Council for Restoration of Rights.

This procedure is easiest to follow in cases where a large business or factory was not liquidated by the Germans, but merely placed under the control of a Nazi custodian, Most of the owners, however, find their assets dissipated and the business in poor shape. Although their property has been, or will be, returned, they face long years of arduous effort before their businesses will flourish again. The small businessmen are probably in the poorest condition. Their shops and stores were closed or taken over by the Germans and few of them exist today.

Property belonging to deported Jews who have not returned cannot be claimed by the heirs, but is placed in the custody of the Institution for Management and Administration. Wherever possible, however, this bureau has named former Jewish owners or their heirs as official custodians. In effect, therefore, these businesses are back in the hands of Jewish owners.

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