The Jewish Community of Latvia expresses its gratitude for restitution legislative initiative
Considering that a group of members of parliament have submitted a restitution legislative initiative to the coalition partners, which provides for the compensation to the Jewish community for the property deprived during the occupation of Latvia, the owners and heirs of which were exterminated in the Holocaust tragedy, the Jewish Community of Latvia expresses its gratitude and satisfaction for promoting such initiative.
“This compensation of restitution is an issue of historical justice that has an invaluable moral significance to the Jewish community. On behalf of our community, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the members of the parliament for this legislative initiative and we look forward to the support of the Saeima. This law is needed to close this page of historical injustice in Latvia forever,” says Dmitry Krupnikov, a member of the Board of the Council of Jewish Communities of Latvia.
The restoration of historical justice through similar restitution initiatives has taken place in many European countries, including Lithuania and Estonia. Restitution under international law is covered by the so-called Terezin Declaration, signed in 2009 by 47 countries, including Latvia.
For the people of Latvia and other nations, historical justice could be restored in the early 90s by the “Denationalization Law” and the Law on the Return of Property to Religious Organizations, but it was not possible for the Jewish community because during the Holocaust the Jewish Community of Latvia was destroyed – from 93 thousand Jews living in Latvia in the 1940s, 75 thousand were exterminated by the Nazis. Of the remaining Jews left in Latvia only about two thousand escaped.
“This compensation initiative has been on the public agenda of Latvia for a long time and we have always emphasized that, with such an initiative, Latvia or Latvian residents are not recognized in any way as responsible for Holocaust crimes – the Latvian state was occupied during World War II and could not defend its citizens regardless of nationality,” – points out Dmitry Krupnikov.
Member of the Board of the Council of Jewish Communities of Latvia