WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives unanimously passed a law on Tuesday meant to hold accountable European countries that have been slow to return stolen assets to victims of the Holocaust.
The Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today Act, or the JUST Act, passed the Senate in December and now goes to the White House for US President Donald Trump’s signature. The law would require the State Department to issue reports on the progress of restitution efforts within 47 countries that in 2009 pledged to recover or compensate “Holocaust-related confiscations made during the Holocaust era between 1933-1945.”
The bill was originally drafted by Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) and Marco Rubio (R-Florida) in the Senate, and Joseph Crowley (D-New York) and Rep. Chris Smith (R-New Jersey) in the House.
Those 47 countries are signatories of the Terezin Declaration on Holocaust Era Assets and Related Issues, a 2009 document that committed nations to restitution before the last generation of Holocaust survivors passes away. The JUST Act is an attempt to apply outside pressure on the signatories to follow suit.