The European Union called upon Bosnia and Herzegovina to address restitution of property seized from Holocaust victims, raising the issue for the first time in connection with Bosnia’s potential accession to the EU.
In its resolution, the EU pointed out “the lack of a comprehensive legislative framework on handling restitution claims,” and called on Bosnia “to ensure the right to property.”
“This vote by the European Parliament is a powerful call for long-awaited legislation in Bosnia to provide justice for Holocaust survivors and their families, and to the Jewish community and other religious communities,” commented Ambassador Jakob Finci, President of the Jewish Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the country’s EJC affiliate, in a press release from the World Jewish Restitution Organisation.
According to the WJRO, an ad hoc system was established in Bosnia in 1995 to decide the legal status of certain properties seized from their original owners, but that communal Jewish property has never been returned to the Jewish community.
The resolution’s language is worded so as to include citizens whose property was seized and nationalised by the Communist regime.
Bosnia is currently home to about 1,000 Jews. The community numbered about 14,000 before World War II, with 12,000 living in the capital city, Sarajevo.