VILNIUS - The Israeli and US ambassadors to Lithuania have welcomed the Lithuanian government's decision to approve a new 37 million euro compensation mechanism for private Jewish property expropriated in the middle of the 20th century.
"In response to the positive developments of the past year when a number of countries have made intensive effort to find appropriate solutions for the return of property and stolen artworks, the Israeli Embassy in Vilnius welcomes the goodwill shown by Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte," Ambassador Hadas Wittenberg Silverstein said in a statement on Wednesday. "We hope that a practical and fair solution will be implemented at the end of the process."
According to the Embassy of the United States, the US administration welcomes and supports the Lithuanian government's proposal to resolve the long-standing issues of property restitution for the Jewish community in Lithuania, devastated by the Holocaust.
"During the Holocaust, nearly 200,000 Jews were brutally murdered in Lithuania, both by the Nazis and by local collaborators, and the Jewish community in Lithuania, which has a centuries-long history in this country, was almost completely destroyed," US Ambassador to Lithuania Robert S. Gilchrist said.
"This bill not only rightly takes issues of the past into account, but also helps to preserve the memory of the Holocaust for future generations. Its adoption would be a special step in completing a particularly important phase of the Lithuanian government's effort to compensate for the horrors of this dark period," the US ambassador said.
The Seimas of Lithuania is yet to consider the government's proposal. Under the bill, compensation would be paid out over the period 2024-2030, as it has been done so far. Annual payments will be made to the Goodwill Fund and it, in turn, will pay compensation to the owners of expropriated property or their heirs.