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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) 606-5000 extension 429

March 17, 1999 

Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the US Meets, Approves Research Plan

Washington, DC - The Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States convened on March 16, 1999 and approved a plan to govern its work.

The Commission was established to examine Holocaust assets in the United States in two key areas: original research into the collection and disposition of Holocaust era assets that came under the possession or control of the U.S. Government and a review of research being conducted by others on the fate of similar assets in the (non-Federal) public and private sectors.

Commission Chair Edgar M. Bronfman greeted the Commissioners by describing the task ahead of them: “Our mission is to achieve the truth -- to find out how, and when, the gold, artwork, books, bank accounts, and other assets of Holocaust victims came into the possession or control of the United States government and to review what others have learned about assets that came into the possession of non-Federal entities.”

The research plan, which was approved unanimously by the Commissioners in attendance, calls for teams to do original research on topics including gold, other financial assets, and art and cultural property. The plan also provides for a report on secondary literature, a comprehensive survey of other research projects under way, and for recommendations for future actions to be made to the President of the United States.

The research plan was developed by the Executive Director of the Commission, Kenneth L. Klothen, based on the results of an extensive series of meetings with interested groups and individuals, including representatives from the Clinton Administration and Congress who drafted the authorizing legislation for the Commission; historians, archivists, and other experts who work on issues relating to Holocaust assets; non-Federal elected officials charged with the location and restitution of assets taken from victims of the Holocaust; and representatives of other nations’ Holocaust commissions.

Having approved the research plan, the Commission will begin immediately with its implementation.

The Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States was created by Public Law 105-186, the US Holocaust Assets Commission Act of 1998. In addition to its Chair, Edgar M. Bronfman, the private-sector members of the Commission are: Roman Kent, Ira Leesfield, Dr. Jehuda Reinharz, Margaret Richardson, Patricia Schroeder, William Singer, and Reverend Cecil Williams. The representatives from the Federal Government are Stuart Eizenstat, Department of State; Patrick Henry, Department of the Army; Miles Lerman, Chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Commission ; James Robinson, Department of Justice; and Neal Wolin, Department of Treasury. The Congressional Commissioners are Senator Barbara Boxer (CA), Senator Christopher Dodd (CT), Representative Ben Gilman (NY), Representative Rick Lazio (NY), Representative Jim Maloney (CT), Representative Brad Sherman (CA), and Senator Arlen Specter (PA).

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