An Israeli nonprofit company is reaching out to North American Jews with the hopes of placing unclaimed Holocaust assets from that country with the rightful heirs.
The Hashava Co., established in 2006 by the Israeli Knesset, is embarking on a campaign this fall throughout the U.S. and Canada to help find the heirs of more than 60,000 assets, many of which have been held in Israel for more than 60 years.
The assets, which include bank accounts, stocks, bonds and real estate, were purchased in pre-state Israel by Jews across Europe before World War II. Tragically, many of these investors were killed by Nazis during the Holocaust, and their assets went unclaimed despite continuing to grow in value.
“We’re on a mission to place these assets with the families who rightfully deserve them,” Hashava CEO Israel Peleg said. “It’s important that we honor the memories of those that perished during that time.”
Peleg said he is reaching out to Jewish American organizations, synagogues and media during his campaign. This includes a stop in Baltimore, where Peleg will speak Nov. 12 during the General Assembly, which is expected to attract more than 3,000 Jews from across the country.
“The GA is the perfect venue to reach out for this cause,” Peleg said. “Baltimore has a great Jewish community, and we expect to be able to spread the word about this. We want to do everything we can to right this wrong from so many decades ago.”
In addition, Hashava — also known as the Company for Location and Restitution of Holocaust Victims’ Assets in Israel — has launched a free online database to help potential heirs seek unclaimed assets.
To search the database, one needs to enter a last name in Hebrew or English at hashava.info. The process, Peleg said, takes less than 30 seconds.
“We have an opportunity to really do something special,” he said.