World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO)

World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) -

The World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) plays a vital role in addressing the historical injustices suffered by Jewish individuals and communities during the Holocaust. Through its dedication to restitution, cooperation with governments, and support for Holocaust survivors, WJRO continues to seek justice for those who suffered immeasurable losses during one of the darkest chapters in human history.

The World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) is an international Jewish organization dedicated to the restitution of communal and private Jewish property that was stolen or lost during the Holocaust. Operating primarily in Central and Eastern Europe, with the exception of Germany and Austria, WJRO's mission is to seek justice for Jewish individuals and communities whose assets were wrongfully taken during this tragic period in history.

The Organization:
In the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union and the transition to communist governments in Eastern Europe, eight major Jewish organizations came together to establish WJRO. The organization commenced its activities in April 1993, coinciding with the signing of an agreement between WJRO and the Israeli government to formalize their cooperation.

WJRO operates as an association, with a council and a board of directors composed of founding and partner organizations. Representatives from the Israeli government are also involved in these governing bodies. As of 2017, the Acting CEO of the organization is Nachliel Dison, and its headquarters is located in Jerusalem.

Activities and Achievements:
WJRO operates in 18 different countries in Central and Eastern Europe, maintaining contacts with governments and local authorities to facilitate the return of Jewish property. This property includes both communal assets and the private possessions of individuals who left no heirs. In cases where physical restitution is not feasible, the organization works to secure compensation for the lost property.

WJRO has established foundations in four countries: Poland, Romania, Lithuania, and Hungary. These foundations collaborate with local Jewish communities to address property restitution claims. The organization utilizes the assets it recovers to provide assistance to Holocaust survivors and Jewish communities in these countries.

WJRO was also a party to the settlement reached in 1999, involving the Swiss government and Swiss banks. As part of the settlement, the banks paid a total of 1.25 billion dollars.

Additionally, WJRO collaborates with the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) regarding the restitution of Jewish art objects, Judaica, and religious artifacts stolen or lost during the Holocaust.

Other Activities of the Organization:
WJRO's activities have led to the collection of information about thousands of public Jewish properties across various countries, including schools, synagogues, medical institutions, and cultural centers. Over the years, its efforts have resulted in the establishment of public inquiry commissions in various countries. These commissions have gathered historical evidence related to the Holocaust and have assisted in creating frameworks for the restitution of stolen Jewish property.

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