31 January 2012
The Holocaust Era Asset Restitution Taskforce ('Project HEART') has announced that its searchable online database of Holocaust-era property records now contains more than two million records. The taskforce, set up by the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) with the support of the Israeli government, has plans to release additional records in the coming months.
The Project HEART database is the largest, publically available single-source database of lost Jewish property assets from the Holocaust era, a press release said. The online database was first unveiled in May 2011, at which time it contained over 500,000 records. Project HEART seeks to help Jewish families identify personal property confiscated by the Nazis and to help bring about negotiations with countries that have not yet come forward to compensate victims or their heirs for private property. Executive Director Bobby Brown stated that the continued growth of the database "is monumental in its impact, since it allows Jewish Holocaust victims and their heirs who did not know details previously about their family's property, to participate in the project."
JAFI Chairman Natan Sharansky said: "We remain committed to achieving restitution for those whose plight has been ignored for too long... A searchable online database of two million property records allows us to give a piece of stolen history back to the Jewish people."
Launched in late February 2011, Project HEART seeks to identify Jewish Holocaust victims and their heirs worldwide whose families owned real estate, movable, immovable, or other intangible personal property that was confiscated, looted, or forcibly sold in countries governed or occupied by the Nazi forces or Axis powers during World War II. The only limitation for application is if restitution has been made to a victim or the victim's heirs for that property after the Holocaust era. In such cases, they are not eligible for further restitution in connection with that property.
Individuals can access the database on the Project HEART website. http://www.heartwebsite.org/.