January 23, 2007

80% of Nazi-stolen assets missing

Only one-fifth of the property that was stolen from Europe's Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators has ever been returned, leaving at least $115 billion in assets still missing, according to a new study by economist Sidney Zabludoff, a former CIA and U.S. Treasury official. The study, to appear in the Jewish Political Studies Review, showed that before the Holocaust, Jews owned property in Europe that was worth between $10 billion and $15 billion at the time. Most of that was never repaid, translating into a missing $115 billion to $175 billion in current dollars, the study said. There is little chance of a new push for restitution because Western European governments feel they already did their share, Eastern European governments feel they are too poor, and the U.S. and Israeli governments are too preoccupied with other issues, the study said.