Holocaust restitution hits gridlock at forum

“Slow and steady – we’re playing the long game.”

That’s the message Stuart Eizenstat says is critical to understanding the progress of the Prague-based, U.S.-funded European Shoah Legacy Institute (ESLI), a Holocaust restitution nonprofit facing growing scrutiny and skepticism that its leaders call unfair.

“It’s too easy to be pessimistic,” said Eizenstat, formerly President Bill Clinton’s top adviser on Holocaust reparations and a key figure in the founding of the organization in 2010. He was addressing a gathering held at Prague’s Černín Palace Nov. 26-28 to follow up on the 2009 Terezín Declaration, in which 46 countries agreed to speed up the tortuous restitution process for victims of Nazi theft.

Rabbi Slomó Köves stood in front of Černín Palace with claimant György Sessler to show reporters images of some of the priceless religious objects looted by Adolf Eichmann.

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(Photo, of the old Jewish cemetery in Prague: postdlf)