A British government spokesman Thursday described the issue of Holocaust-era restitution as key to the concerns of the U.K. and committed the government to continuing "to raise our concerns about the lack of implementation of international declarations on restitution.
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Responding on behalf of the government during a debate in the House of Lords, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said the government would play its part, be it bilaterally or collectively through the offices and channels of the European Union.
The United Kingdom on Monday took the chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), a multinational association of governments and NGOs furthering Holocaust remembrance, research and education.
Opening the debate, Baroness Ruth Deech QC (Hon) said: This is a property issue like no other. The stolen homes stand for the remembrance and recognition of the history of the Jewish population of Europe and their contribution to the culture and businesses of the countries they once lived in.
In advance of the debate, 50 U.K. parliamentarians wrote to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, urging him to address the issue of restitution. Poland has a responsibility to elderly Holocaust survivors, their heirs and other victims to return their property which was seized by the Nazis or subsequently nationalized by the Communist regimes, the letter said.
Nearly 70 years after the Holocaust, and a generation after the fall of Communist regimes, many Holocaust victims and their families are still fighting for the return of their property from Poland and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe.