US officials urge Lithuania to return Jewish property

Faina Kukliansky

US officials and the Lithuanian Jewish community are urging the government to return private property to Holocaust survivors and their descendants, the daily Lietuvos Rytas reported on Wednesday.

"The issue of restitution of private Jewish property was raised in the past, but this has been increasingly talked about lately," Deividas Matulionis, foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, told the paper.

"I wouldn't say there is pressure, but the Americans make it clear to us that the restitution of Jewish property will remain on the agenda," he said.

Matulionis has recently discussed the issue with Thomas Yazdgerdi, the US Department of State's special envoy for Holocaust issues, in Vilnius.

The advisor told Lietuvos Rytas that they discussed the idea of restitution, without mentioning any specific mechanisms or figures.

According to Matulionis, the possibility of paying the Jews a certain percentage of the value of their property, which would be more a symbolic gesture, was discussed.

Lithuania six years ago committed itself to paying 37 million euros in compensation for Jewish religious communal property by 2023.

Source: BNS
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