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National flag flutters over Latvian central bank headquarters in Riga, Latvia

Latvia Passes Law for Restitution of Jewish Property Taken in Holocaust

Latvia's parliament passed a law on Thursday, February 10, regarding Holocaust restitution to the country's Jewish community.

Prior to the onset of World War II and the Holocaust, Jews in the Baltic nation owned schools, orphanages, cultural institutions, hospitals and other properties. However, during the Nazi occupation, approximately 75,000 Jews in Latvia were murdered.

"This was the most serious crime against humanity ever committed on Latvian territory," the Latvian parliament said in a statement.

Something that is complicating the issue is the fact that many of the institutions that owned property no longer exist and that no heirs can be found. Additionally, the exact amount of private property lost has been hard to determine. However, the government managed to calculate the worth of stolen Jewish real estate to be in excess of €47 million, based on property belonging to Jews in 1940 and based on real estate value at the end of 2018.

Jews were denied property during the Holocaust, which was seized by the Nazis. However, in Latvia, as with most countries in Eastern Europe, that property was subsequently nationalized after the war ended when the area was under Communist rule.

When Latvia achieved independence in 1991, the property then became the property of the new country.

The law stresses that Latvia is not to blame for the loss of Jewish property, but "it would be ethical and fair if the state would, in good faith, reimburse the Latvian Jewish community," the parliament said. (JPost / VFI News)

“God, we ask that you bring peace to those who were persecuted in the Holocaust and their families. We pray that these actions are never repeated nor forgotten.”