Yad Vashem denies WJRO presence at 75th anniversary of Auschwitz event

"The event plan does not include specific discussions on various other important topics in which Yad Vashem deals with on a day to day basis."

Wall of Righteous Gentiles at Yad Vashem. (photo credit: YAD VASHEM)
Wall of Righteous Gentiles at Yad Vashem.
(photo credit: YAD VASHEM)
A week remains until the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation, an event which will draw more than 40 heads of state to Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Post’s sister publication, Maariv, has found out that despite the efforts to bring dignitaries such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prince Charles, there are still issues between Yad Vashem and the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO). Yad Vashem has decided that there will be no WJRO representation at the event.
WJRO CEO Nachliel Dison attacked Yad Vashem’s decision while attending a World Zionist Organization convention in Jerusalem. “I don’t understand why an organization like Yad Vashem refuses to deal with a subject as critical as returning property. We all know that each pillage of Jewish property and the refusal to return it stems from antisemitism, in the context of the Holocaust and after it,” Dison said.
“You ask the Polish, for example: ‘Why did you take Jewish property?’ and they say that for years Jews have taken their property and deceived them, so it’s actually Polish property and not Jewish,” he said.
WJRO was founded by Jewish organizations to focus on property restitution, mostly in Eastern Europe. Most of the effort is concentrated in working in the relevant countries and pushing for laws that will allow Holocaust survivors and their descendants to reclaim property that was seized during the Holocaust and subsequently nationalized by communist regimes. The organization also promotes the establishment of foundations to support the well-being of Holocaust survivors, using reparations funds.
Yad Vashem rejected these claims, responding, “WJRO, like many others, is working on an important issue, and Yad Vashem welcomes all such activities. And yet, the International Holocaust Forum which will be held in Yad Vashem, is an international event which is titled: ‘Remembering the Holocaust, Fighting Antisemitism’ and for that purpose more than 40 heads of states will be gathered. The event plan does not include specific discussions on various other important topics in which Yad Vashem deals with on a day-to-day basis.”
The organization added, “naturally, such a unique event requires security measures and various complex logistics, and given the large number of delegations which will be arriving, the number of invitees is very small, and the organizers can’t fulfill everyone’s requests, as important as they may be.”
WJRO refused to comment on the matter.