The European Shoah Legacy Institute initiated a letter addressed to Serbian Prime Minister Mr. Aleksandar Vučić, which was signed by:
Ambassador Jiří Šitler – Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues and Combat of Antisemitism, Czech Republic;
Ambassador Felix Klein – Special Representative of the Federal Foreign Office for Relations with Jewish Organizations and Holocaust Issues, Federal Republic of Germany;
Ambassador Tibor Shalev-Schlosser – Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues and Restitution, State of Israel;
Ambassador Jovan Tegovski – IHRA National Coordinator, Republic of Macedonia;
Sir Eric Pickles – Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (from 7thSeptember 2015); and
Mr. Nicholas J Dean, Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, Department of State, United States.
The letter encourages the Serbian government to resume discussions with the Jewish community of Serbia and the World Jewish Restitution Organization on the drafting of heirless property legislation. The legislation would provide urgently needed assistance to Serbian Holocaust survivors currently living in Serbia and abroad to ensure they enjoy a life of dignity. It would also provide crucial support in sustaining and revitalising Jewish life in Serbia, as well as funding Holocaust education and remembrance.
The European Shoah Legacy Institute commends the Serbian government for commencing work on this important legislation and is hopeful that the final version of this legislation will serve as a model for other countries, encouraging them to pass legislation consistent with the Terezin Declaration and the Guidelines and Best Practices – including the provision of restitution in-kind of immovable and movable property without broad exceptions – and in establishing a claims process that is expeditious, simple, accessible, transparent, and non-burdensome or costly to the Jewish community of Serbia.