Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), issued the following joint statement upon the House’s unanimous passage of the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery Act (H.R. 6130) by voice vote:
“The Holocaust was one of the darkest times in human history, and so many lost so much as a result of those horrific actions. During those terrible years, the Nazis sought to strip Europe of some of its most priceless works of art, culture, and heritage from the homes and museums of Nazi-occupied European countries.
“The effects of these atrocities are still being felt today, and countries around the world are doing their part to return art and artifacts to their rightful owners. The passage of today’s bill is a promise to the victims of the Holocaust that the United States is committed to creating a fair judicial process for the return of property that was wrongfully stolen during the Holocaust.”
Background: Introduced by Chairman Goodlatte and Congressman Nadler, the bill would help return artwork and other cultural property that was stolen by the Nazis during the Holocaust to their rightful owners.
By establishing a six-year federal statute of limitations—starting when the owner becomes aware of the location or property interest in the item—for these claims, the bill will help facilitate the return of Nazi-confiscated artwork to its rightful owners or heirs. The legislation will ensure that American law encourages the resolution of claims related to Nazi-confiscated art on the merits, in a fair and just manner. Doing so is consistent with long-standing U.S. foreign policy, as demonstrated in the 1998 Washington Conference Principles on Nazi-Confiscated Art and the 2009 Terezin Declaration.
Companion legislation, S. 2763, was introduced in the Senate by Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and passed the Senate Judiciary Committee.