It was the Communists (a.k.a. Antifascists) who ultimately benefitted from the Holocaust crimes

Where in Europe Communism flourished and still overtly or covertly flourishes

The World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) has, January 30, conducted a briefing for members of the European Parliament in Brussels on the issue of looted Holocaust-era assets. The event was organized by B’nai B’rith and hosted by the Romanian parliamentarian Ioan Enciu. The speakers addressed various aspects of the restitution issue, stressing the importance of the European Union in treating the matter as a region-wide problem.

Croatia’s President Ivo Josipovic and foreign minister Vesna Pusic have mid-February 2012 announced amendments in laws to incorporate World War II era with regards to the return of confiscated Jewish property. As I said in my previous article this announcement had a political agenda of trying to distance and exonerate the Communists from their role in the looting Jewish property.

“In 1996, under the leadership of dr Franjo Tudjman, Croatia passed the Law on Restitution/Compensation of Property Appropriated During Yugoslav Communist Rule (amended in 2002) to address the restitution of communal and private real property. The restitution claims processes established under the law have operated exceedingly slowly and, with regard to private property, makes it impossible for many former Jewish property owners to obtain restitution or related compensation”.

As former Communists, antifascists, have held a great deal of power in Croatia, and still do – unfortunately, one must deduce that the hardships experienced by many Jewish families since 1996 in attempting to obtain compensation or have their confiscated family properties (nationalised by the Communists after 1945) returned, are wrapped in the fact that Communists moved their families into those properties, took life-long rights over them, if not ownership, and do not want to let go, nor pay their dues.

During 1990’s the return of confiscated/nationalized property to Croatian citizens was regulated by the law and not the Constitution. The Croatian constitutional court had in 1999 removed the discriminatory condition; i.e. that citizens of countries which have signed an agreement with Croatia on that matter have a right to claim the return of their confiscated property. Given that hardly any country had signed that agreement the freshly proposed amendments to law and the Constitution would seek to equate foreign citizens with Croatian ones.

At the end of the day, given the history of Communist/antifascist warped way of life, only the political will shall prevail. The prospects of swift restitution or compensation do not look good to me – former Communists have a great deal to lose.

World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) says: “Throughout Europe, the dominant principle which emerged after World War II – enacted in decrees and legislation of the Allies and of European countries – is that a State, even if not the perpetrator of a crime, should not benefit from it”.

It just may happen that the WJRO will chase the former Communist European countries into a corner where they’ll have to cease pretending how great they were and own up and pay up for their share in crimes against Jews.

Certainly, Germany (former West Germany), Austria, Belgium have walked the paths of paying compensation to the victims of the Holocaust, but not the post-WWII Communist countries. The WJRO has delved into a work plan of negotiations with countries and governments in order to reach agreements and ensure legislation concerning the restitution of property to the Jewish people. These countries include Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine.

A related project HEART promotes and assists the process of restitution of Jewish  confiscated property. It states that in October1940, in Yugoslavia (Belgrade, Serbia) two anti-Jewish laws were passed. The first law fixed a quota for Jews entering secondary schools and universities; the second banned Jews from buying and selling certain food items. Of course, the loud Serbs will say they were against this? They certainly cannot blame Croatia for these terrible acts against Jews.

The Serbs will also say that they were against the confiscation of Jewish property – and yet it happened! In Serbia, according to WSJO property confiscations started in 1945 and include “agricultural lands, woods and woodland, construction sites, residential and business buildings, apartments and business premises and movables of cultural, historical or artistic significance – 609 pre-war properties that were formerly owned by the Jewish community have been identified so far in Serbia, including synagogues, schools/yeshivots, mikvehs, orphanages, old age homes, and 120 cemeteries.

Not only did the Communist benefit from crimes against Jews (as in enjoying and usurping Jewish properties after WWII) but they also committed heinous, horrible crimes against multitudes of innocent non-Jewish people who did not agree with the Communists. Croatia’s Bleiburg massacres in May 1945 are only a relatively small example when related to the Communist rule map of Europe.

Since the Communists or antifascists have denied or justified mass murders they committed during and after WWII perhaps the success and the pursuit of restitution of the confiscated Jewish property will not only benefit in justice the victims of the Holocaust but also the victims of Communist Crimes of mass murders. I.e., it will at least highlight the fact that Croatians who seek justice for the victims of Communist crimes engage in pursuits of truth, condemnation and punishment of all crimes no matter who perpetrated them. The mask of “righteousness” that Antifascists and Communists wear to this day, creating bitterness and anger within nations, could well be torn down by a significant notch. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

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