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Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the US

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Press Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Stu Loeser
(202) 371-6400, ext. 456

October 4, 1999

House Votes Unanimously To Extend Holocaust Commission

Washington, DC - The US House of Representatives unanimously approved legislation today that will extend and significantly strengthen the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States.

HR 2401, U.S. Holocaust Assets Commission Extension Act of 1999, moves the date by which the Commission’s final report is due by 12 months to December 2000 and authorizes an additional $2.5 million for the Commission’s work, an increase of 71 percent over the original $3.5 million.

“The more the Commission uncovers, the more we discover we have to examine. This unanimous agreement to extend the Commission and drastically increase our authorized funding proves the House’s commitment to our work and America’s commitment to achieving justice for Holocaust victims and their families,” explained Commission Chair Edgar M. Bronfman. “I look forward to prompt consideration in the Senate.”

The primary author of the House bill was Rep. Rick Lazio (R-NY), who was joined by 27 Members of Congress as co-sponsors. Rep. James Maloney (D-CT), Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), International Relations Chairman Benjamin Gilman (R-NY), Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach (R-IA), and Banking Committee Ranking Democrat John LaFalce (D-NY) signed on as original co-sponsors. Identical legislation has already been introduced in the Senate.

Created last year to examine -- and advise the President on -- the fate of Holocaust victims’ assets that came into the control of the Federal government, the Commission quickly determined that identifying and tracking these assets is a much larger task than previously thought. In June, the Commission unveiled a “map” of the more than 75 relevant WW-II era government offices whose records must be located and scoured. Tracking the gold, art, and financial assets of Holocaust victims means finding and reviewing more than 45 million pages - a number which grows weekly as additional documents are declassified in a coordinated effort between the Commission and the Nazi War Criminal Records Interagency Working Group, comprised of the CIA, FBI, NSC, Justice Department, State Department, Department of Defense, National Archives and US Holocaust Museum. These records are located in depositories across the country; the Commission’s work is further complicated by the fact that victims’ financial assets frozen by Federal law may now be sitting in each of the 48 WWII-era state capitals.

For a complete copy of the discussions on U.S. HOLOCAUST ASSETS COMMISSION EXTENSION ACT OF 1999 (House of Representatives - October 04, 1999) Click Here

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