(JTA) — A bill to facilitate the return of Nazi-looted artworks to their original owners or heirs was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Two members of the Judiciary Committee, Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., introduced the bipartisan Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act on Friday. Goodlatte chairs the committee.
A day earlier, the Senate’s Judiciary Committee unanimously advanced the measure to the full Senate for a vote.
The bill would extend the statute of limitations for the stolen artwork to six years from the date that the art in question is identified and located, and from when the claimant has shown evidence of possession of the art.
In some past cases, defendants were able to avoid restitution because states had statutes of limitations as short as three years.
“While we can never erase the horrors of the Holocaust from human history, we can do our part to bring these treasures back to the families of those who suffered and sacrificed so much during that dark time,” Goodlatte said in a statement. “This legislation will ensure that the rightful owners and their descendants can have their claims properly adjudicated.”
The Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act was introduced in the Senate in April by Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, both Texas Republicans, along with Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
During World War II, the Nazis stole valuable belongings, including art, from Jewish families. Much of the looted property was not returned after the war, and heirs of the families have faced lengthy legal battles to recover their family belongings.