It is our great honor to invite you to attend the international conference, "Unfinished Justice: Restitution and Remembrance", which is being hosted at the European Parliament in Brussels on 26th April 2017.
The conference is being conducted under the patronage of the President of the European Parliament, Mr. Antonio Tajani MEP, and is being organized by the European Alliance for Holocaust Survivors (EAHS), a coalition of Members of the European Parliament committed to issues impacting Holocaust Survivors, the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) and the European Shoah Legacy Institute (ESLI) together with the European Jewish Congress (EJC) and B'nai B'rith International as well as the Permanent Missions of the State of Israel, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom to the European Union and their respective Ministries of Foreign Affairs.
The conference aims to discuss the restitution of Holocaust-era assets in the forty-seven countries that endorsed the Terezin Declaration in 2009, with a particular focus on the current state of post-Holocaust restitution, best practices for countries to address issues, and methods for the European Union to encourage ongoing progress.
We would welcome your attendance at the conference as we discuss an issue of great importance to Holocaust survivors and their families, as well as to all of us who seek justice for victims of the Holocaust.
26 April 2017, European Parliament, Altiero Spinelli Building, Room A5E2
Download the program here
Moderator Ambassador Joël Lion, Special Envoy of the State of Israel for Holocaust Era Assets Restitution
Representatives of the Institutions of the European Union:
Hosts of the Conference:
Co-Host of the Conference MEP Gunnar Hökmark (EPP)
Co-Host of the Conference MEP Charles Goerens (ALDE)
Call to sign the Declaration: MEP Monika Flašíková-Beňová (S&D)
The Impact of Restitution for Holocaust Survivors and their Families:
Ambassador of the State of Israel to the EU and NATO, H.E. Roni Leshno-Yaar
Minister for Social Equality of the State of Israel, MK Gila Gamliel
The Unfinished Justice of Restitution:
Chair of Operations, World Jewish Restitution Organization, Gideon Taylor
Fighting for Justice from a Jewish Perspective:
Executive Vice- President, European Jewish Congress, Raya Kalenova
Deputy Director, B’nai B’rith International, Eric Fusfield
Unfinished Justice – Challenges Faced by Holocaust Survivors and European Jewish Communities on Restitution Issues
Panel (Moderator Gideon Taylor, Chair of Operations, World Jewish Restitution Organization)
State of Play, Guidance and Sharing Best Practices
Panel (Moderator Jiří Šitler, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Sweden)
Antonio Tajani is an Italian politician and President of the European Parliament since January 2017. Before then, he was one of the fourteen vice-presidents of the European Parliament and the European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, and was also one of the vice-presidents of the European Commission. Born in 1953 in Rome. He did classical studies at the ‘Torquato Tasso’ secondary school, Rome, and obtained a degree in Law from La Sapienza University, Rome. He was an Officer in the Italian Air Force, worked as an Air Defence Controller and was Head of the Operations Room monitoring Italian and European civil and military air traffic. He was also a professional journalist and Editor of the Italian weekly Il Settimanale. He presented a radio news programme for RAI 1. He was Head of the Rome editorial office of the Italian daily Il Giornale, a special correspondent in Lebanon, the Soviet Union and Somalia. In his political life, he was Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Transport from 2008 to 2010 and for Industry and Entrepreneurship from 2010 until 2014. He is Vice-Chairman of the European People’s Party, elected at the EPP Congress in Estoril in 2002, re-elected in Rome in 2006, again in Bonn in 2009 and in Bucharest in 2012. He is a Member of the EPP Group Bureau, which prepares the Group's position for European Council summits.
Ambassador Joël Lion is the Special envoy for Holocaust Era Assets Restitution & Jewish Refugees from Arab Lands and Iran Issues at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem. previously, he was Director of the Public & Academic Affairs Department and Deputy Director of the Western European Department at the MFA. In his diplomatic career abroad, Ambassador Lion served as Consul General for Eastern Canada in Montreal, Ambassador to ICAO, Spokesperson at Israel's consulate general in New York, and in a wide range of positions in the Embassies of Israel in Berlin, Vienna and Riga.
Anders Gunnar Hökmark is a Swedish politician and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Sweden. He is member of the Moderate Party, part of the European People's Party. Hökmark is Vice Chairman of the EPP Group, the largest group in the European Parliament with 265 members. He is the leader of the Swedish delegation to the EPP and active in the Committee of Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Committee of Industry, Energy and Research. He is a member of the Special Committee on the Financial, Economic and Social Crisis as well as the Special Committee on the Policy Challenges and Budgetary Resources for a Sustainable European Union after 2013. In addition to his committee assignments, Hökmark is the chairman of the Parliament's delegation to the EU-Croatia Joint Parliamentary Committee and active in the delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly. He is Chairman of the European Friends of Israel and the Sweden-Israel Friendship Association. He is also a member of the Reconciliation of European Histories Group and affiliated with the Institute for Information on the Crimes of Communism. He co-sponsored the European Parliament resolution of 2 April 2009 on European conscience and totalitarianism. In 2007, Hökmark narrowly lost against Joseph Daul after three rounds of voting in the election of the chairman of the centre-right European People's Party Group. He later lost his post of group’s vice-chairman in 2009.From 2012 to 2014, Hökmark led the Parliament’s work on the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD). Since 2014, he has been the parliament’s rapporteur on the banking structure reform.
Charles Goerens is a politician from Luxembourg. Goerens was a member of the European Parliament from 1982 to 1984, from 1994 to 1999, and again from 2009 to present. He served as Minister for Cooperation, Humanitarian Action, and Defence in the government of Jean-Claude Juncker from 7 August 1999 until 31 July 2004. He also briefly served as Minister for Foreign Affairs from 20 July 2004 until 31 July 2004. He lost these posts when Juncker had to form a new coalition government after the 2004 parliamentary elections. Since 2009, Goerens has been serving as a member of the Committee on Development and of the Subcommittee on Human Rights. In addition, he is a member of the European Parliament Intergroup on “Extreme Poverty and Human Rights” and a vice-chairman of the cross-party Working Group on Fair Trade (sponsored by Fair Trade Advocacy).
Monika Flašíková-Beňová is a Slovak politician who has been a member of the European Parliament since 2004. She is a member of the centre-left Direction-Social Democracy party, which in turn is affiliated with the Party of European Socialists. She presently serves on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs.
Originally a store manager and a media executive, she was recruited into politics in 1999, being one of the founding members of the Smer-SD party. Since then she has served in the National Council of the Slovak Republic as well as the European Parliament. She is known for her progressivism and left-wing views.
Ambassador Aharon Leshno-Yaar was born in Tel Aviv in 1955. He graduated from Tel Aviv University in Literature and History of the Middle East and Arabic Language. Ambassador Leshno-Yaar joined the Foreign Ministry in 1981 after having served in the IDF for eight years. His foreign posts include Washington D.C., Canberra and Singapore. Prior to the Oslo Accords he was a member of the Israeli delegation for Middle East peace negotiations and later on for peace negotiations with Lebanon. He equally served as Coordinator of the Israeli delegation to the Multilateral Working Group on Palestinian Refugees. He was the Ambassador of Israel to the United Nations in Geneva from 2008 until 2012. Prior to coming to Brussels, Ambassador Leshno-Yaar served as the Deputy Director General, Head of U.N. and International Organizations Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ambassador Leshno-Yaar was appointed Ambassador of Israel to the European Union and NATO in 2016.
Gila Gamliel is Israel’s Minister for Social Equality. The ministry encompasses the advancement of senior citizens, young people, gender and minority equality, as well the Digital Israel project, which aims to leverage the country's standing as the Start-Up Nation to ensure that governmental and business services offered to the public use the most advanced methods in the world.
A member of the Knesset (Parliament) from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling Likud Party for over a decade, Ms. Gamliel has previously served as Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Deputy Minister for the Advancement of Young People, Students and Women. Among other roles, she chaired the Knesset's Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, and served as a Member of the Knesset's Finance Committee, Economics Affairs Committee, and the Education, Culture and Sports Committee. Ms. Gamliel is also a member of the Young Leaders Community of the Davos World Economic Forum, (the only Israeli public representative to the Forum) and was the first woman Chairperson of Israel's National Students' Union. Ms. Gamliel holds an L.L.M. from Bar Ilan University, a L.L.B. from Ono Academic College, an M.A. in Philosophy and a B.A. in Middle Eastern History and Philosophy from Ben-Gurion University. She holds the rank of Sergeant in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), having served as the head of an air force investigative staff. Ms. Gamliel, who lives in Tel Aviv, is married and the mother of two.
Gideon Taylor serves, in a lay capacity, as Chair of Operations of the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO). The WJRO is the representative of world Jewry in pursuing claims for the recovery of Jewish properties seized during the Holocaust in Eastern Europe.
Mr. Taylor commenced his career in Jewish communal service in 1990 at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the overseas humanitarian arm of the American Jewish community where, from 1994, he served as Assistant Executive Vice President. He directed rescue operations in Syria and Yemen and coordinated activities in Ethiopia. He also oversaw JDC’s International Development Program which implemented major disaster relief and development programs in Africa, the Middle East and Europe.
He went on to serve as Executive Vice President of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany (Claims Conference) from 2000 to 2009. The Claims Conference is responsible for recovering former Jewish Holocaust-era property and compensation and for distributing Holocaust restitution and compensation to Nazi victims as well as promoting Holocaust education. He led the expansion of the organization from an annual budget of $300 million per year to annual budgets of $600 million to a billion dollars during his tenure and managed an international staff of 250-400 operating from 15 offices.
In 2012, he assumed the role of Executive Vice President of Earle W. Kazis Associates, a commercial real estate company.
Raya Kalenova was elected as the Executive Vice-President of the European Jewish Congress (EJC) in 2012. From 2008 till 2012, Raya served as Deputy Secretary General and was responsible for the creation and management of the EJC office in Brussels. Raya Kalenova is also a member of the Board of the World Holocaust Forum Foundation and represents the EJC at the World Jewish Restitution Organization and Claims Conference. The European Jewish Congress is the democratically-elected official representative organization of over 40 European Jewish communities.
Eric Fusfield has served as Deputy Director of the B’nai B’rith International Center for Human Rights and Public Policy since 2007 and as Director of Legislative Affairs for B’nai B’rith International since 2003. He is responsible for B’nai B’rith’s policy advocacy and government relations, including formulating and promoting B’nai B’rith’s agenda on Capitol Hill and representing the agency before Congress, the Executive branch, foreign governments, and international organizations. In 2012 he was invited by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to serve on its Faith-Based Security and Communications Advisory Committee. Mr. Fusfield previously served as Assistant Director of European Affairs for the American Jewish Committee for five years. An attorney formerly in private practice, he holds degrees from Columbia University (B.A. in History), Oxford University (M.St. in Modern Jewish Studies), and American University (J.D./M.A. in Law and International Affairs).
Ben was born in Poland in 1929 and brought to England at the age of 15 years with 732 young orphaned Jewish survivors in 1945. His extensive accomplishments include the following: he captained Britain's Olympic weight¬lifting team at Melbourne in 1956, Rome in 1960, and won bronze at the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff. In 1963, he became founding member of the ’45 Aid Society for UK Holocaust survivors and is currently, President. Ben is an Executive Member of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and negotiates with the German Finance Ministry regarding restitution. He has played a pivotal role in establishing 27 January as the UK National Holocaust Memorial Day and has been a Trustee and President of the Holocaust Day Memorial Trust from its inception.
Ben was awarded the Polish Knights Cross, Order of Merit, and Commanders Cross, Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland for his contribution to reconciliation between Poles and Jews and was honoured by the Queen for services to the British community. He is Trustee of the Holocaust Education Trust, advisor to the IOE Holocaust Education Development Programme and is a Member of The International Holocaust Remembrance Assembly (IRHA), and he is currently a member of the Prime Minister's Holocaust Commission.
Former Principal of St Anne’s College Oxford, Chair of the UK Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority, BBC Governor, Rhodes Scholarships Trustee, Gresham Professor of Law, the first Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education for England and Wales, and Chair of the Bar Standards Board. She holds an honorary degree from Ben Gurion University, is a patron of the CST, a trustee of the Tel Aviv University Roth Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, and a member of the All Party Britain-Israel Group. She is a Bencher of the Inner Temple and was appointed Honorary Queen’s Counsel 2013. She was created a life peer in 2005 and sits in the House of Lords as a crossbench legislator.
Dmitry Krupnikov is Deputy Chairman of the Latvian Council of Jewish Communities and Chairman of the Latvian Jewish Community Restitution Fund (LEKOREF), which was set up by the Council after restitution to the Community by Latvia of five religious and communal properties in 2016. All restituted properties were transferred to LEKOREF, which is now in charge of maintaining and managing the properties. Dmitry was the lead representative of the Community in the restitution process and was involved in all phases of negotiations with the Saeima (Parliament) of Latvia during the one year it took for the 5 laws of restitution to pass the Saeima.
Jiří Šitler is a Czech diplomat and historian, and has been Ambassador of the Czech Republic in Stockholm since February 2016. Šitler has also been Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Czech Republic to Romania (November 2010 – January 2015) and to the Kingdom of Thailand, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Lao PDR and the Union of Myanmar/Burma (May 2001 – December 2006).
Between March 2015 and January 2016 he was designated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic as Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues and Combat of Anti-Semitism. He has dealt with World War II-related issues since the 1990s, having served in such offices as press and foreign policy advisor to President Václav Havel (1993–1997), head of the Czech delegation at the 1998 Washington Conference on Holocaust Era Assets, observer in the International Commission on Holocaust Era Insurance Claims, Ambassador-at-Large for World War II - related issues, and chief negotiator for compensation of Czech Nazi victims. Šitler is a founding member of the Board of Trustees of the German Federal Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future”. He is also the author or co-author of numerous essays, articles and books, especially on Czech-German relations, World War II - related issues, Czech political history and South-East Asian history.
Anežka joined ESLI in August 2014. She is currently responsible for projects connected with welfare of Holocaust survivors and other victims of Nazi persecution. She has over 10 years of experience in customer service and event management, ranging from the international hotel industry to family-run enterprises and national non-governmental organisations. Ms. Nekovářová hold a Bachelor’s degree in Security Studies from the University of Jan Amos Komensky in Prague, Czech Republic and is currently studying Emergency Planing at the Czech Technical University in Prague.
Professor Michael Bazyler is a leading authority on the use of American and European courts to redress genocide and other historical wrongs. Bazyler is the author of the book Holocaust Justice: The Battle for Restitution in America‘s Courts; contributor of chapters to various books on genocide and the law; co-editor with Roger Alford of Holocaust Restitution: Perspectives on the Litigation and Its Legacy; and co-author of Forgotten Trials of the Holocaust.
Strahinja Sekulić, director of the Agency for restitution was appointed by the Government of the Republic of Serbia on January 2012. Previously, Mr. Sekulić served as Public Attorney in Belgrade City Attorney (2003-2014), and Public Attorney in Belgrade (Palilula) Municipal Attorney (2002-2003). He served as Municipal Secretary at Urban Municipality of Palilula (2001-2002). He worked as Chief of Secretariat for Utilities and Housing Services of Urban Municipality of Voždovac (2000-2001). He started his career at the Office of the Prosecutor in District Court in Belgrade (1995-2000). Mr. Sekulić earned a Master degree in Commercial Law from Faculty of Law, University of Belgrade. He also specialized in Corporative Governance on Faculty of Law, University of Belgrade. He passed the bar exam.
Ambassador Jovan Tegovski was born in Skopje on 26 April 1952. He graduated from the Faculty of Economics of University of “Sts. Cyril and Methodius” in Skopje, obtained Diplome de Specialite du Institute International d’Administration Publique form Paris, certificates for Trainer on EU Affairs and on EU negotiations from the College of Europe in Bruges, and speaks English, French, Serbian, and Croatian. He is married and has two children.He began his diplomatic carrier as Junior Officer in the Foreign Relations Committee of the Republic of Macedonia in 1976 and continued in the Federal Secretariat for Foreign Affairs of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, serving in the Mission to the EC in Brussels and in the Embassy in Ankara. On the eve of the dissolution of the former SFRY, he rejoined the Ministry of Foreign Aaffairs of Macedonia and in 1992 was sent to Brussels as representative of the Republic of Macedonia. In 1995, Mr. Tegovski was appointed as the first Ambassador of the Republic of Macedonia to the EU, NATO and the BENELUX countries. Between 2001 and 2008 he occupied a number of different positions within the Macedonian MFA - State Secretary, Assistant Minister for EU Affairs, Assistant Minister for Bilateral Relations with European and Non-European Countries, and National Coordinator for Regional Cooperation Council and Stability Pact for SEE. For six years (2008-2014) he worked for the Regional Cooperation Council (the successor of the Stability Pact for SEE) as Chief of Staff and Special Envoy for Relations with the Presidency of the Council of the EU. Since October 2014, he was appointed as Macedonian National Coordinator for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
Sir Eric Jack Pickles is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Brentwood and Ongar since the 1992 general election and was the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government until May 2015.He was previously the Chairman of the Conservative Party from 2009 to 2010 and is currently the chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel. Sir Eric is now the United Kingdom Special Envoy for post-Holocaust issues, being appointed in 2015. Also, since 2015, as the Prime Minister’s Anti-Corruption Champion, Sir Eric Pickles has been overseeing, along with other Ministers, the delivery of the commitments made in the UK’s Anti-Corruption Plan and at the London Anti-Corruption Summit. He has engaged with Ministers and officials from other government departments, as well as representatives from civil society and business and foreign governments, to champion action against corruption.
A member of the Senior Foreign Service, Tom Yazdgerdi entered the U.S. Foreign Service in 1991 and is currently Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues in the European and Eurasian Bureau at the Department of State. Before that, he served as Director of the Office of South Central European Affairs (2014-2016). He was also Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul (2013-2014), head of the U.S. Consulate in Kirkuk, Iraq (2011-2012) and Deputy Political Counselor for Iran Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad (2010-2011). Tom also served as Deputy Chief of Mission and Political-Economic Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Pristina, Kosovo (2006-2009) in the run-up to and aftermath of Kosovo independence. His other assignments include Panama, Bratislava, Tirana, and Athens, as well as positions in the European Bureau (Czech Desk) and the Political-Military Affairs (PM) Bureau at the State Department, and as Senior Balkans Program Officer with the National Democratic Institute in Washington.
Tom has a B.A. in History from Cornell University and an M.A. in Central European History, Security Studies and American Diplomatic History from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.
Tom is the recipient of three Superior Honor Awards, a Meritorious Honor Award, the Sinclair Award for Excellence in Language Study (Greek), four Group Superior Honor Awards, and the Secretary of State’s Award for Volunteerism Abroad.
Before joining the Foreign Service, Tom worked as Legislative Assistant for Foreign Affairs and Defense issues to Congressman William O. Lipinski (D-IL), who represented the southwest Chicago area where Tom was born.
The “Unfinished Justice: Remembrance and Restitution” conference is being hosted in Room A5E2 of the Altiero Spinelli Building (ASP) of the European Parliament in Brussels.
In January 2015, the European Parliament raised its security alert level to ‘yellow’, where it currently remains. Conference participants should therefore be aware that more stringent security controls are currently in place and the number of access points to the European Parliament has been reduced, resulting in some entry delays.
Conference participants are requested to arrive at Place du Luxembourg in front of the European Parliament no later than 8,30 and make themselves known at the signposted meeting points. Participants will then be taken in groups to the Accreditation Centre to complete the registration and accreditation process, before proceeding through the security checkpoints.
Please Note:All conference participants requiring accreditation to the European Parliament must present a valid passport or EU identity card at both registration and security.
Once through security, conference participants will be escorted to the conference venue. As participants must be escorted at all times, it is kindly requested that you remain with the group and proceed directly from security to the conference room.
At the completion of the conference, participants will be escorted back to the entrance on Place du Luxembourg and will be required to surrender their accreditation stickers upon exiting the Parliament.
Conference participants who arrive after the designated meeting time may not be permitted entry to the European Parliament or the conference. We therefore strongly urge you to contact our designated focal point, Mr. Johanan Seynave, via text or phone on +32 471 679 548 should you be experiencing any unexpected delays in arriving at the Parliament.
Conference participants without valid photo ID (such as a passport or EU identity card) will be refused entry to the European Parliament. Individuals who did not complete the online conference registration form prior to the deadline will be refused entry to the conference and to the European Parliament.
Conference participants may (where no suitable alternatives are available) bring one small piece of luggage (such as an overnight bag or carry-on case) with them to the conference. These additional items will be subject to security screening and we encourage you to allow additional time to complete these procedures.
Upon arriving at Brussels-National International Airport, proceed to Brussels Airport-Zaventem train station, which is located on Level -1 of the terminal (Arrivals Hall is Level 2). The nearest station to the European Parliament is ‘Bruxelles-Luxembourg’; trains run twice per hour, take 18 minutes, and one-way tickets in second class cost €8.80.
Please Note: ‘Bruxelles-Luxembourg’ is the station nearest to the European Parliament; ‘Luxembourg’ station is in Luxembourg City, in a different country three hours away.
Conference participants travelling to Brussels on Ryanair or Wizz Air may arrive into Brussels South Charleroi Airport, located just outside the city of Charleroi, approximately 50 km south of Brussels.
The Brussels City Shuttle runs regular buses from Charleroi Airport to Gare du Midi/Zuidstation train station in southern Brussels. From there, participants can transfer to the Brussels metro system. Buses run every 30 minutes, commencing at 3:30am, and tickets cost around €10 one-way.
Alternatively, you can take the bus from the airport to Charleroi-South train station (approx. 20 minutes) and then connect to the SNCB national rail services into Brussels.
Note that most metro stations in Brussels have two interchangeable names – one in French and one in Dutch. In this document, the French name is given first, followed by the Dutch equivalent.
The nearest metro station to the European Parliament is ‘Trône/Troon’, which is situated on Lines 2 and 6 and is easily accessible from ‘Gare du Midi/Zuidstation’. From ‘Trône/Troon’, the European Parliament is 10 minutes by foot (750m).
If travelling on Lines 1 or 5 (i.e. from ‘Gare Centrale/Centraal Station’), change to Lines 2 or 6 at station ‘Arts-Loi/Kunst-Wet’ and continue one station further to ‘Trône/Troon’ station. From ‘Trône/Troon’, the European Parliament is 10 minutes by foot (750m).
The nearest bus stop to the European Parliament is ‘Luxembourg’, which is serviced by buses 12, 21, 22, 27, 34, 38, 64, 80, and 95.
As Brussels has an integrated transit system, one day and multi-day public transport passes are valid on all metro, tram, and bus services throughout the city.
Those travelling to the European Parliament by bus should allow additional travel time, as rush-hour traffic can often be more reminiscent of Bombay than Brussels.
A nearby of international hotel franchises have hotels located within 10 minutes walking distance from the European Parliament. Below are just a few of the many options available in the Quartier Européen district of Brussels (in no particular order):
Place Jourdan 1
+32 2 2355 100
Rue du Parnasse 15
+32 2 5052 929
Rue d’Idalie 35
+32 2 6268 111
Place Jean Rey
+32 2 8000 888