Romania, Jewish Groups Sign Agreement on Compensation

Romania has formally agreed to take specific steps toward compensation for Jewish property seized during World War II, said Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress.

The agreement was signed last week by the Romanian government, the World Jewish Restitution Organization and the Federation of Romanian Jewish Communities, he said.

“It’s a significant breakthrough,” Steinberg said of the Sept. 7 signing. “It will set the pattern for Eastern and Central Europe.”

He added that the agreement was similar to one recently made with Hungary.

Points agreed upon include the following: * Within a year, the Romanian government will submit draft legislation to Parliament on the compensation of seized Jewish property. * An executive order will be issued to open relevant archives and files. * In two months, the WJRO will submit a preliminary list of property seized.

The Jewish population of Romania was 600,000 before World War II.

During the 1940-1944 rule of the pro-Nazi Ion Antonescu, more than 250,000 Jews died in territories controlled by Romania.

Some 15,000 Jews, many of whom are elderly, now live in Romania.

Another 400,000 have emigrated to Israel since the end of World War II.

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