October 2020 -- Tishrei- Cheshvan 5781,  Volume 26, Issue 10

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#MyPropertyStory: The Next Generations

The World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO} has launched the second annual social media campaign, #MyPropertyStory: The Next Generations, to shine a light on the unprecedented theft of property from Jewish people and communities during the Shoah and its aftermath. The campaign will run until October 11.

 

Last year, tens of thousands of people from around the world participated in the #MyPropertyStory campaign.  People engaged through social media in response to stories of lives that were forever changed by the Holocaust that showed how their homes, land, businesses, and personal possessions were powerful links to their pasts.

This year, 75 years after the Holocaust, the campaign will also focus on children and grandchildren of survivors – The Next Generations.  Their stories will be powerful additions to the campaign.

 

“Following the success of last year’s #MyPropertyStory social media campaign, we are honored to launch an expanded version this year, focused on the children and grandchildren of the survivors who lost so much,” said Gideon Taylor, Chair of Operations, World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO). “This campaign offers a unique opportunity for people to share and connect with one another – focusing on how the injustices of lives that were forever changed by the Holocaust have affected Jewish families across generations.”

 

WJRO is asking participants to post their stories through videos, photos, statements, or drawings – via Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram and include – #MyPropertyStory and tag @WJRORestitution.  People can also go to http://www.wjro.org.il/mps for easy access to one-click sharing of WJRO’s moving videos, stories, and photos on social media in English and Hebrew. There is also a general email address for any questions at mypropertystory@wjro.org.il.

 

During the Holocaust, the Nazis, their allies, and collaborators systematically robbed millions of Jews of every possession from their homes and businesses, as well as property belonging to Jewish communities throughout Europe.  Each item represented a cherished memory, a loved one, a childhood cut short, a lifetime of labor – generations of history – people’s lives that were taken.  The #MyPropertyStory: The Next Generations social media campaign will focus on survivors and their descendants and their connection to their family history before and after the Shoah.

The #MyPropertyStory: The Next Generations interviews feature:

 

• Lorraine Braun, daughter of Holocaust survivors, talks about the importance of connecting to her family’s ancestry. Her late mother would often tell stories about her life before the Holocaust and speak about her happy home and what it was like to have to abandon her home. In 2012, Lorraine traveled with her siblings, son, and extended family to Királyhelmec in the Czech Republic - the hometown of both her parents – to visit her mother’s home because she says: “We felt that it was our inheritance to try to take back some of that sense of joyfulness that existed in the house.”

 

• In another video, Israeli Shoshana Greenberg, a daughter of a Holocaust survivor, who has worked tirelessly to get all the documentation to prove she was the rightful heir to her family’s property including a textile factory, travels to the home in Lodz, Poland and speaks about encountering resistance to her claims.  She says, “Despite all the efforts I made and everyone I turned to in court, my saga of recovering the property is at a standstill.”

 

• The video of Israeli David Kotek shows him visiting an apartment building in Sosnowiec, Poland that belonged to his father and his aunt. It had been a family home, carpentry and factory. David expresses his excitement about visiting the home because he knew that after the war, his grandfather, father and aunt all came together in the same spot after being liberated from concentration camps.  Four years ago, David found out that the building was nationalized by the Communists.  He believes, “The restitution of property [in Poland] will be a historical justice and will bring Polish and Jewish people closer together.”

 

As the groundbreaking Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act report recently released by the US State Department makes clear, many European countries have not met their commitments on Holocaust era property restitution.  The #MyPropertyStory campaign will help elevate the issue so that Holocaust survivors can seek a measure of justice during their lifetime.

 

WJRO represents world Jewry in pursuing claims for the recovery of Jewish properties in Europe (outside of Germany and Austria). WJRO was established by leading world Jewish organizations to address the restitution of Jewish property and to remind the world that the time has come to redress the enormous material wrongs caused to European Jewry during the Holocaust. For more information about the #MyPropertyStory campaign, visit:  wjro.org.il/mypropertystory.