Hungarian Restitution Pact Satisfies Top Jewish Officials

Calling the agreement a breakthrough, Jewish leaders have expressed their satisfaction with Hungary’s official commitment last week to set up procedures for the restitution of Jewish property seized during World War II.

The pact, signed by the Hungarian government, the World Jewish Restitution Organization and local Jewish organizations, calls for the Hungarian Finance Ministry to establish two subcommittees.

One subcommittee will settle the legal and technical aspects of compensation. The other till deal with relevant documentation for claims. A report will be issued by Sept. 30.

Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress, said of the pact: “I hope it will serve as a model for the other Central and Eastern European agreements.”

Last month, during a visit to New York, Hungarian Prime Minister Gyula presented some proposals concerning the restitution issue to WJC officials.

At that time, Steinberg said all communal property belonging to the Catholic, Lutheran and Calvinist churches and the Jews would be returned.

Similar efforts are under way in other countries in the region, including Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and official of the restitution group said.

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