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House approves restitution resolution

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U.S. lawmakers unanimously approved a resolution that urges lagging European nations to press forward with Holocaust restitution.

The non-binding resolution passed by U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday “urges the countries in Central and Eastern Europe which have not already done so to return looted and confiscated properties to their rightful owners or, where restitution is not possible, pay equitable compensation, in accordance with principles of justice and in an expeditious manner that is just, transparent and fair.”

It also singles out Poland, calling on it “to immediately enact fair, comprehensive, and just legislation” to enable those whose property was seized by the Nazis or the Communist Polish government after the war to receive restitution of their property or monetary compensation.

A similar resolution is under consideration in the U.S. Senate.

The Claims Conference, the umbrella body coordinating restitution claims, lobbied for the resolutions, initiated in the House by U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) and in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.)

“Eastern European property restitution is one of the major unresolved issues and a current priority for us,” said Claims Conference spokeswoman Hillary Kessler-Godin. “We welcome this strong support from the Senate and House and hope that it prompts these governments to help restore assets to rightful owners and heirs.”

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