That is the question and mission of “Hashava,” Israel’s Holocaust Restitution Company, which actively seeks the heirs of those who died in the Holocaust – and who owned land in Israel. The company was formed in 2006, on the heels of a special law passed by the Knesset.
In April 2014, Amendment 3 to the Law changed the timelines and now the company’s mandate has been shortened to December 31, 2017. If heirs aren’t found by then, the land will be transferred to the Israeli Administrator General (AG). Section 64 of the amended Hashava law gives the AG an additional 5 years to manage the orphaned properties, according to the laws which apply to the AG’s management of “abandoned properties.”
Following the legislation of the Amendment, Adv. Kroituro, who heads up the location unit of Hashava stated in an interview with Globes, the Israeli business paper, that the company holds over 1400 dunams of land, located throughout Israel, including in Tel Aviv and Bat Yam. She said that the company has found heirs throughout the world.
For the purpose of this law, the asset must be in Israel and the last known owner would have been a Holocaust victim, whose last known residence, as of September 1, 1939 was in a country set forth in the list, attached to the law. Countries such as Austria, Poland and France are included.
Once a connection has been established between the Holocaust victim and yourself, you will need to obtain an Israeli probate order. There are specially formulated regulations for obtaining an Israeli probate order for a Holocaust victim. Hashava assists with this, or can refer you to an Israeli advocate, who has consented to charge limited fees for such work.