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senate Bill S. 447

Should the State Dept Report on Countries’ Efforts to Return Stolen Property to Holocaust Survivors & Victims’ Families?

Argument in favor

This bipartisan bill will help Holocaust survivors see the return of their wrongfully seized property or other restitution by showing the public which countries aren’t living up to their commitment to provide such restitution, thus spurring them to action.

PLD's Opinion
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04/23/2018
Humanity demands that we support Holocaust victims at every avenue!
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Peyton's Opinion
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04/24/2018
This bill will help Holocaust survivors to retain items & property that’s rightfully theirs, as well as placing the building blocks for other countries to address what needs to be given back to the Jewish community.
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Jane's Opinion
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04/23/2018
Yes. Absolutely the worst thing ever to occur in history. While it will never change or ease the pain of what happened it should be done.
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Argument opposed

While more needs to be done to encourage other countries to provide restitution for wrongfully seized property to Holocaust survivors, simply reporting about countries which aren’t living up to those obligations won’t help.

Phillip's Opinion
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04/23/2018
This is a problem for the UN. Not “America world police”. Not to mention I would imagine that people I glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Should other countries report on the US lack of reparations made to the native Americans, Philippines Cubans Panamanians etc etc. Our imperial past whilst not called so is not that clean.
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Curtis's Opinion
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04/24/2018
I dont understand how the United states of america can ask this mowing what it has done to folks
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Darius's Opinion
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04/24/2018
I would like to say yes however reparations haven’t truly been made to those this country has already taken so much from. The native Americans and the enslavement/kidnapping/forced labor that was imposed upon Africans should honestly be a higher priority as far as righting wrongs. Heck the people who were slave masters were given money for their loss of property during the freedom of their slaves while the slaves and their ancestors have nothing to show for it. How can we force or hold other countries responsible if we don’t do what’s right at home?
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bill Progress


  • EnactedMay 9th, 2018
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The house Passed April 24th, 2018
    Passed by Voice Vote
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
  • The senate Passed December 12th, 2017
    Passed by Voice Vote
      senate Committees
      Committee on Foreign Relations
    IntroducedFebruary 27th, 2017

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What is Senate Bill S. 447?

This bill — the JUST Act — would direct the State Department to report on certain countries’ compliance with the 2009 Terezin Declaration which called for the return of, or restitution for, wrongfully confiscated or transferred Holocaust era assets. The declaration was endorsed by 47 countries but some, including some NATO members, haven’t fully addressed the restitution of Jewish communal, private, and heirless property.

Specifically, the report would assess the nature and extent of national laws or enforceable policies regarding compliance with the Terezin Declaration for countries considered by the Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues to be of “particular concern” regarding such restitution, including:

  • The return to the rightful owner of wrongfully seized or transferred property, including religious or communal property, or the provision of comparable substitute property or the payment of equitable compensation to the rightful owner;

  • The use of the Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art and the Terezin Declaration in settling claims involving publicly and privately held moveable property;

  • The resolution of heirless property to assist needy Holocaust survivors;

  • Progress on the resolution of claims for U.S. citizen Holocaust survivors and family members.

The bill’s full title is the Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act of 2017.

Impact

Holocaust survivors with restitution claims, particularly those who are American citizens; foreign countries that aren’t fulfilling their obligations to return wrongfully seized property or otherwise provide restitution to survivors; and the State Dept.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 447

The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would cost less than $500,000 over the 2018-2022 period.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) introduced this bill to improve efforts assisting Holocaust survivors and the families of victims by reporting on the progress of certain countries in returning, or providing restitution for, wrongfully confiscated or transferred Holocaust era assets:

“I applaud the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today for supporting this bipartisan effort to ensure justice is done, at long last, for Holocaust survivors and the families of Holocaust victims. These individuals have waited far too long to recover, or receive compensation for, what is rightfully theirs, and by highlighting this issue as an American foreign policy priority, we will spur action in countries that are falling short of their obligations.”

Original cosponsor Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) added:

“The Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s passage of the JUST Act is one more step toward ensuring justice for Holocaust survivors and the families of Holocaust victims. By enhancing ongoing efforts between the State Department and European countries, this bill will help facilitate long deserved restitution to survivors and their families whose property was stolen during the Holocaust. I applaud today’s measure, and I look forward to the JUST Act’s final passage before the Senate.”

This legislation passed the both Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate as a whole unanimously, and has the support of 21 bipartisan cosponsors including 12 Democrats and nine Republicans.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Lt. Arnold Samuelson / Public Domain)

AKA

Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act of 2017

Official Title

A bill to require reporting on acts of certain foreign countries on Holocaust era assets and related issues.

    Humanity demands that we support Holocaust victims at every avenue!
    Like (59)
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    This is a problem for the UN. Not “America world police”. Not to mention I would imagine that people I glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Should other countries report on the US lack of reparations made to the native Americans, Philippines Cubans Panamanians etc etc. Our imperial past whilst not called so is not that clean.
    Like (51)
    Follow
    Share
    I dont understand how the United states of america can ask this mowing what it has done to folks
    Like (14)
    Follow
    Share
    I would like to say yes however reparations haven’t truly been made to those this country has already taken so much from. The native Americans and the enslavement/kidnapping/forced labor that was imposed upon Africans should honestly be a higher priority as far as righting wrongs. Heck the people who were slave masters were given money for their loss of property during the freedom of their slaves while the slaves and their ancestors have nothing to show for it. How can we force or hold other countries responsible if we don’t do what’s right at home?
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    This bill will help Holocaust survivors to retain items & property that’s rightfully theirs, as well as placing the building blocks for other countries to address what needs to be given back to the Jewish community.
    Like (12)
    Follow
    Share
    Yes. Absolutely the worst thing ever to occur in history. While it will never change or ease the pain of what happened it should be done.
    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
    Ask George Soros? He was in the SS!!!!! He’s anti Simetic and probably has a bunch of stolen artwork and Jewish owned gold and gems himself! The U.N. Is not going to get involved as they are anti Jew/ Israel! All that stolen property was divied up and sold on the Black Market long ago! I’ll bet the Clintons have a couple of paintings! Hillary hates Jews! And Black people!!!! Want to Bet?
    Like (8)
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    Not their job, unless there is a US citizen involved. Our taxes and federal budget is way out of hand already without being detectives for the whole world.
    Like (8)
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    Yes this seems like a good law to me and years overdue.
    Like (7)
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    If it will help people get back their rightful property, then yes. Anything to restore what the Nazis stole or ruined.
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    Why hasn’t this been resolved before the generation who fought this war has passed away?
    Like (5)
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    Did the USA confiscate any Jewish property? If yes, return it! If no, there’s nothing to do that shouldn’t already be underway : diplomatic requests to allies about their compliance with UN resolutions. This bill is all about pandering to Israel which the US needs to stop.
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    Of course in the USA, it would be appropriate to report on returning what was taken, if not actually stolen from United States citizens , illegally interred in variouse wars with the USA!
    Like (4)
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    Transparency and information are never bad. It’s budget dust, so go for it.
    Like (4)
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    This bipartisan bill will help Holocaust survivors or their families will see the return of their wrongfully seized property or other restitution should be passed post haste. Which should be of major concern to those considering passage of this legislation is that of the Swiss banking institutions refusing to releasing Nazi deposits made during and following the Second World War. 4*23*18
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    Yes...but why isn’t the UN or another international body handling this matter and why wasn’t this done during these people’s lifetimes.
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    This is a UN issue. We aren't the world police. I'm sure there are survivor organizations who are addressing this.
    Like (3)
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    It’s been over 70 years and some of the property owned by Holocaust victims has still not been returned to their owners. This is an outrage! We need to make sure that this wrongfully confiscated property gets returned to their rightful owners.
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    Transparency in this matter may help spur countries that haven't lived up to their obligation into action. However, the US has many of its own wrongs to rectify. I would love to see a similar bill holding the American government responsible for reparations to Native and African Americans who were also robbed of their lives and opportunities for growth and generational wealth. It doesn't look right to ask other countries to pay their debts when we haven't owed up to ours.
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    This is a weak bill but a start. It needs more teeth and force to make sure stolen Jewish property is returned.
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