MOSCOW (JTA) — Lithuania agreed to pay $41 million over 10 years to the Jewish community to compensate for seized property.
The Ministry of Justice agreed last week to make payments to the Jewish community from January 2011 to March 2021 for property taken over decades of oppression. Draft legislation on property restitution has languished for years.
The Lithuanian government had returned synagogues and other places of worship to the Jewish community. Many other properties were nationalized after World War II and under decades of Soviet rule.
Minister of Justice Remigijus Shimashius told Jewish leaders in late January that the administration of President Valdas Adamkus wanted to move forward with restitution despite the current crippling financial crisis in the country.
"This matter has dragged on for 10 years, but I believe that the current government in power wants to break the ice," the minister said, according to the Regnum News Agency.
The proposed payment accounts for one-third of the average market value of 136 properties once owned by the Jewish community, including facilities for religious, cultural and educational purposes. The compensation excludes restitution for parcels of land.