Restitution of Shoah victims' assets elicits great response.

Ynet 30 April 2008

The Company for Restitution of Holocaust Victims Assets released its final activity report Tuesday

Motivated by Parliamentary Inquiry Committee, Company for Restitution of Holocaust Victims Assets recoups assets for heirs, to aid Holocaust survivors in need; 5,973 applications in one year of activity.

The Company for Restitution of Holocaust Victims Assets released its final activity report Tuesday, summing up its first full year of activity with an estimated asset remuneration of about NIS 700 million ($201.8 million).

The Company for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims Assets was established under the Holocaust Victims Assets Law (Restitution to Heirs and Endowment for Purposes of Assistance and Commemoration) from 2006, following the work of the Parliamentary Inquiry Committee led by Knesset Member Colette Avital (Labor).

The company was empowered to locate and coordinate all the assets located in Israel and transfer them to its possession, as well as initiate actions to locate the legal heirs to these assets.

Some of the assets held by the company,  about NIS 330 million ($95.15 million) in real-estate and about NIS 200 million ($57.67 million) in equities, are not cashable by law, and are kept for heirs only.

Out of an additional NIS 170 million ($49 million) held by the company, NIS 100 million ($29 million) have been allocated to assist Holocaust victims in need, and to support institutions and organizations whose purpose is to assist Holocaust survivors.

So far, NIS 60 million ($17.3 million) have been transferred directly into Holocaust survivors' bank accounts.

The report notes that over 1,000 art pieces (paintings, sketches and Judaica), which had been stolen by the Nazis during the Holocaust, were located at the Israel Museum collection, but have yet to be appraised.

So far, 5,973 applications have been submitted, 1,000 of which are awaiting the receipt of assets from the various banks; about 2,400 are missing some details about the asset owners, and another 2,500 are at different stages of submitting according to priorities such as: the age of the applicant-heir.

Last December, about 55,000 names of Holocaust victims who had bought shares in the Jewish Colonial Trust to aid the establishment of Israel, were uploaded onto the company's website, yielding an immediate response of more than 10,000 entries that same day.

Each share is worth NIS 2,400 ($691.4), while most of the victims held one to three shares each.
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