Bill taxing restitution money would strip tiny Czech Jewish community of $2 million


(JTA) — A bill passed by the lower house of the Czech parliament would cost the country’s small Jewish community more than $2 million in taxes on properties returned to it.

The measure, which was submitted by Communist Party lawmakers, passed by a large majority on Wednesday. It proposes to tax the compensation that the country’s churches and its Jewish community receive for property seized by the former communist regime, and in some cases also by the Nazi occupation that preceded it.

To pass, the bill needs to be approved by the Czech Senate. A Senate vote has yet to be scheduled.

For the Jewish community, the law will mean a loss of 20 percent of revenues from compensation for such property, Petr Papousek, the president of the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic, told JTA.

“By numbers it means that from 2020, we will lose 80,000 euro every year till 2043,” he said. By that year, the Jewish community would have lost more than $2 million to taxes on property that the Nazis stole, and then were taken over by the communist government of Czechoslovakia.

“That is a huge problem for us and substantial money for our community,” Papousek said.

Several thousand Jews live in the Czech Republic today.

The Nazis and their collaborators killed more than three-quarters of the approximately 90,000 Jews who were living in 1941 in what is now the Czech Republic — at least 71,000 people.


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