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Lithuania not increasing Holocaust restitution: justice minister

[JURIST] Lithuanian Justice Minister Remigijus Simasius [official profile, in Lithuanian] said Tuesday that the country does not plan [AP report] to increase the amount of restitution it will pay to Jewish Holocaust survivors in the country, according to the Associated Press. The ministry has recommended that approximately $53 million be paid to the country's 5,000 remaining Jews as restitution for property seized by the Nazis during WWII, but Jewish groups have argued that the amount is too small. Simasius said that it would be impossible to restore all property rights lost by the community, but World Jewish Restitution Organization [advocacy website] President Ronald Lauder said that the government had arbitrarily ignored [press release] many of the properties that his organization had identified as having been taken. The government's plan must be approved by the Lithuanian Parliament [official website] later this year, and would provide for restitution payments beginning in 2012.

Other European countries have also recently addressed Holocaust restitution. In March 2008, a Belgian government commission found [text, PDF, in French; JURIST report] that Holocaust survivors, victims' families, and the general Belgian Jewish community should receive $170 million to compensate for the money and goods they lost during World War II. In 2007, the commission found that the Belgian government had been complicit [JURIST report] in Nazi persecution of the Jewish population during the Holocaust, and the country's courts failed to hold Belgian authorities accountable for persecuting and deporting Jews after WWII.

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