The return of Jewish property in Europe seized by the Nazis made progress on two fronts this week, in Poland and in the Czech Republic.
In the Czech Republic, a bill to return Jewish property and art confiscated during the Nazi occupation awaits the signature of the president after being approved by the Senate last week.
Under the measure, land holdings and buildings seized between Sept. 29, 1938 and May 8, 1945 now owned by the state would be returned to Jews or their heirs.
Prague, Czech Republic — Pavel Dostal could hardly contain his anger. The nattily attired Czech minister of culture sat in his conference room, arms folded and jaw tight, as he explained how he felt betrayed by the Jewish community he was trying to help.
Dostal, bearing a resemblance to Kurt Vonnegut and dressed in gray bow tie, matching silk shirt and jacket, spoke with reserved bitterness last week while relating through a translator how he had become the victim of a worldwide misinformation campaign by the haredi and Orthodox Jewish communities.
A sea of black hats filled Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side as demonstrators protested in front of the Czech Republic Consulate Monday. The Orthodox contingent is claiming the Czech government and a major Czech insurance company have violated a 3-month-old agreement to protect a recently uncovered medieval Jewish cemetery in Prague.