During the Holocaust, the Nazis and their collaborators killed or deported to their deaths most of the Jewish population of Slovenia. Of the approximately 1,400 Jews who lived in Slovenia in 1940, roughly 1,300 were killed during World War II (WWII). After the war, the Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia (of which the People’s Republic of Slovenia was a constituent republic) nationalized much of the Jewish property seized by the Nazis. Today, there are an estimated 300 people of Jewish descent in Slovenia, including about 20 active community members in Ljubljana and 30 in Prekmurje, a region in northeast Slovenia.
In addition to the 2009 Terezin Declaration, Slovenia endorsed the 2010 Guidelines and Best Practices for Restitution and Compensation. Although Slovenia has a framework for private property restitution, most Holocaust-era property claims in the country are categorized as heirless property for which there is no provision in the law for restitution or compensation. The country also has no legislation covering the return of Holocaust-era Jewish communal property. Private property restitution provisions included in the Denationalization Act of 1991 required claimants to have had Yugoslav citizenship at the time their property was confiscated, and with some exceptions, it generally excluded property confiscated before 1945. As a result, Slovenian Jewish Holocaust survivors and descendants of those who perished were largely unable to benefit from the law’s property restitution procedures. In 2018, the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) and the Ministry of Justice agreed to launch a joint research project to establish the scope and value of heirless properties in the country. The research teams expected to complete the study by the end of 2019.