An official website of the United States Government Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Immovable Private, Communal/Religious, and Heirless Property

Albania endorsed the Terezin Declaration in 2009 and the Guidelines and Best Practices in 2010.  The country does not have any restitution or compensation laws relating specifically to Holocaust-era confiscations of private property.  Under the law, religious communities have the same restitution and compensation rights as natural or legal persons.

The Albanian government reported no records of property claims submitted by victims of the Holocaust, and the Department is not aware of any claims by the local Jewish community or American citizens regarding real property dating from the Holocaust era.  However, the Agency for the Treatment of Property faces thousands of claims for private and religious property confiscated during the communist era, which would compound any challenges for victims of the Holocaust.  The Office of the Ombudsman, an independent, constitutional entity that serves as a watchdog over the government, and NGOs noted claimants in general still struggle to obtain due process from the government for property restitution.

Movable Property: Nazi-Confiscated and Looted Art, Judaica, and Jewish Cultural Property

Albania participated in the 1998 Washington Conference on Holocaust Era Assets and in the 2009 Holocaust Era Assets Conference in Prague, but the country does not have restitution laws in place to cover movable property, nor do its institutions conduct provenance research.  The Department of State has not been made aware of issues regarding movable property.

Access to Archival Documents

The Albanian Archive reported having no property documents for Holocaust victims or their heirs in archival records.  Overall availability and integrity of archival documents are inconsistent.  In 2009, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum concluded a small archival preservation and copying project, which was supported by and made possible thanks to the cooperation of the Albanian government.

There are no reported immovable, movable, or cultural property claims submitted, though if there were, acquiring supporting archival documents would be difficult.  The fear prevalent in Albania during the Communist era caused people to avoid being linked to the ‘wrong’ resistance group, including any groups that might have sheltered Jews, even after the Communist regime collapsed in 1991.  The residual culture of silence from the Communist past partly explains why the rescue of Albanian Jews remained relatively unknown for many decades.  Some survivors could not overcome the difficulty of grappling with a painful past and did not tell their stories.  Albania’s Jewish community is small, and Jewish organizations and their activities are not well known to the general public.  Albanian archives and records contain many inaccuracies, inconsistencies, or gaps, making collection of facts difficult.

Education, Remembrance, Research, and Memorial Sites

Education on the Holocaust is taught within the context of European history.

The Solomon Museum, Albania’s only Jewish history museum, opened in the city of Berat in 2018 and has a dozen framed panels on the walls bearing photos and stories from 500 years of Jewish life in the country.  There is an exhibit devoted to Albanian Jewish history in Tirana’s national museum.  Additionally, Albania’s current Minister of Culture has discussed establishing a National Museum of Jews in Vlora.

Albania commemorates International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27 and is an observer country of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.  In January 2018, the Albanian Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs hosted a conference in Tirana titled “We Remember:  Promoting Human Rights through the Lens of Holocaust Education and Remembrance.”  During the remembrance event in January 2017, then‑President Bujar Nishani awarded medals to 35 families and individuals who sheltered Jews during World War II.  On January 29 of the same year, the Anti‑Defamation League presented the Jan Karski “Courage to Care” award to the Albanian people.


Immovable Private, Communal/Religious, and Heirless Property

In the immediate aftermath of the war, an indeterminate number of Holocaust survivors received a measure of compensation for lost rental income, or they received flat rate compensation at a small percentage of the estimated value.  Despite forming the second commission in 2001, public authorities were unable to trace documents relating to many confiscated properties.  The 2001 commission awarded lump sum payments for claims on properties that had adequate documentation of having been plundered.  In total, the government disbursed €1.2 million (approximately $1.3 million) in compensation for 170 immovable property claims.

Movable Property: Nazi-Confiscated and Looted Art

Belgium endorsed the 1998 Washington Principles on Nazi-Looted Art.  The Belgian government has identified 331 items of unclear origin, including those on display in local museums.  Of these, seven are known to be of Jewish origin and 298 are suspected to be of Jewish origin.  Many items require further investigation and research to determine provenance.  Through the Federal Science Policy, the government created a steering group, with representatives of the different federal and regional governments.

On January 25, 2014, local media reported that Belgian museums had taken ownership of 639 paintings since the end of World War II and that fewer than 10 percent were returned to the original owner.  Media further reported that a federal register of 4,500 items had not been made public.  In July 2014, the federal government began sharing responsibility for restitution with the regional and linguistic community governments, in response to increased calls for greater transparency and government coordination.  A database of looted art will be made public through a link to the website of the Federal Public Service Economy of Belgium.

Judaica and Jewish Cultural Property

The Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Office of Economic Recovery (ORE) was responsible for tracing, recovering, restituting, and liquidating movable goods from 1944 until its dissolution in 1968.  In 1948, the Central Jewish Consistoire purchased 565 Hebrew books of unknown but possible Jewish origin from the ORE.  The 2001 Commission was involved in researching the origin of all immovable property in Belgium.

Access to Archival Documents

ORE’s division of the National Archives stored post-World War II files relevant to recovering and registering looted art.  These files were transferred to the State Archives upon the dissolution of ORE in 1968, were digitalized in 2012, and are now available online.  The Office of War Damage keeps a record of all claims related to war damages, including plundering.  Records are searchable by both the property’s physical address and the physical address of the property’s owner.  The 1997 and 2001 Commissions’ findings regarding the archival documents are publicly available.  Copies of many records are available at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which has had good cooperation with Belgian archives.

Education, Remembrance, Research, and Memorial Sites

The Flemish, French, and German linguistic communities are responsible for education policy, including the development of educational programs on remembrance, tolerance, and citizenship.  Education on the Holocaust is a mandatory part of school curricula.  In 2014 and 2015, thousands of Belgian youths rode a train from Brussels to Auschwitz-Birkenau to attend the international commemoration of the liberation of Europe.  A similar initiative is planned for 2020.

Belgium joined the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in 2005 and observes International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27.  Belgium’s Center for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Contemporary Society participates in the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure.  The Foundation of Contemporary Memory collects 20th century testimonials from the Jewish community in Belgium.

A monument at the Dossin Barracks in Mechelen solemnly marks the assembly point in Belgium where Jews and Roma were deported to concentration camps during World War II.  The monument is one of 40 monuments in Belgium dedicated to the remembrance of victims of the Holocaust.  The Jewish Museum of Belgium, which was the site of a terrorist attack on May 24, 2014, has a room dedicated to the victims and survivors of the Shoah.

JUST ACT Report to Congress
Edit Your Custom Report

01 / Select a Year

02 / Select Sections

03 / Select Countries You can add more than one country or area.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future