New rights body for survivors

A new body has been set up to oversee the work of the Holocaust Era Assets Conference, which restores Shoah assets to their owners.

The European Shoah Legacy Institute will act as a forum for those representing Holocaust survivors and other victims of the Nazis. It will also be involved in the fight against racism, xenophobia and antisemitism in Europe and worldwide.

The institute was unveiled at the Holocaust Era Assets conference that ended in Prague on Tuesday. The conference, attended by 46 countries, was called to review the Washington Declaration of 1998 that set in motion international efforts to return art looted by the Nazis to its rightful owners.

The new conference widened its scope to include immovable property, such as communal buildings, and the welfare of Holocaust victims. There was also an appeal to conserve concentration and extermination camps.

Britain’s delegation included World Jewish Relief vice-chair Nigel Ross, who said: “The real problems are in the countries from the former Soviet Union. Latvia has carried out personal restitution but not that of immovable property, while Lithuania has done neither.”

Last updated: 4:33pm, July 2 2009