UK families of Holocaust victims to get pounds 25m

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The Independent Online
HOLOCAUST victims whose assets were seized by the British government during the Second World War will be compensated in full through a settlement expected to cost pounds 25m.

Peter Mandelson, the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, will announce this week that the Government has decided to pay back the value of property confiscated from Jewish immigrants at today's prices.

The multi-million pound package follows a long-running campaign by the families of Nazi victims, whose assets were seized under the Trading with the Enemy Act. Records show that about 225,000 individuals and companies had property seized.

In a speech to the British Israel Chamber of Commerce tomorrow, Mr Mandelson will announce that he has accepted the recommendations of Lord Archer, who was appointed by the Government to conduct an inquiry into the compensation claims. This means all victims of Nazi persecution, or their families, will be eligible to make a claim.

"This has not been easy," said Mr Mandelson yesterday. "There are real practical difficulties in setting up a scheme more than 50 years after the event."

Lord Janner, the chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust, which has campaigned for compensation, was delighted with the decision.

"They are doing the honourable, decent thing. When the property was seized, the government [of the day] made no distinction between the pro- perty of the Nazis and of the people murdered by them."