Sunday, May 10, 2009

Give me back what's mine!


Can you imagine owning a home or property, then having it confiscated by the State? This woman most probably had parents to whom such a thing happened, and as their descendent, is protesting the fact that only Serbia has not yet adopted laws regarding the return of property that is rightfully hers. This photo was taken at yesterday's Europe Day Celebration in downtown Belgrade.

The Network for Restitution (NFR) or 'Mreza za Restituciju' as it is known here, is a non-profit citizen's group that offers support and free legal advice for Holocaust and Communist terror survivors trying to regain confiscated homes from the W.W.II era.

In Serbia, the only country in Europe that did not return to its citizens' property confiscated by the communists and the Nazis, there are around 500,000 people waiting to get their property back.

Restitution of property to the rightful owners is not just the righting of a historical wrong. When foreign investors inquire about buying land in Serbian cities, they encounter serious problems with land ownership rights.

16 comments:

Jacob said...

Let's hope that she is successful in her quest! Tragedy is multiplied when restitution is denied!

You have caught the angst and pathos of the situation in your photo!

Cristóbal said...

It's a hard situation.
I hope it happens the best for the two parties (the ones that are using the land now and the rightful owners).

MuseSwings said...

She doesn't need a sign - you can see it all in her face

Babooshka said...

A tragic legacy. Her face is etched with such turmoil and again this is something we just don't hear about here, other than blogging.

Obelix said...

you can add Montenegro too, since it's independant country and what else not... damn! i'd own a half of a present day town there! :D

Bibi said...

Thanks, Obelix. I see though that Montenegro (Crna Gora) is on the list of countries that have taken measures to restore property, or at least that's what the lady's list she's holding says. I know all too well though that making a law doesn't mean it's going to be respected!

Virginia said...

I am so taken with this lady's portrait. I finally figured out that she reminds me of my great Aunt Lena! I hope she is successful. I didn't know any of this Bibi.
Thanks for filling us in.
V

soulbrush said...

her face says it all...sigh...

Thérèse said...

Un problème qui est réapparu après la dernière guerre... il n'y aura donc jamais de fin?

Anonymous said...

The map shown has a decidedly imperialist bent, showing Serbia as containing Kosovo. A good example of the Serbian government attempting to possess what is not theirs.

Bibi said...

Anonymous, say what you may, but Kosovo was always part of Serbia. I say 'was' now, for the media made it appear as if Serbian were taking over another country. But it was not.

Gheo said...

I'm really sorry about that lady, especially when I know what will probably happen. I know it from my country, Romania: we have the restitution laws, but they apply only now and then. Those who have/had the power took over confiscated properties, and the rightful owners are fighting for at least some compensations.

erin said...

after all this time it is hard/difficult to fathom that people still have not regained property from the 1940s. not a good thing at all.

Tash said...

A very sad reality. Thanks for making us aware.

Anonymous said...

Serbia annexed Kosovo against its will in the 1910s. Kosovo was not "always" part of Serbia. It was a colony of Serbia, and now it is free of Serbia. The situation is similar to Bosnia and Croatia, which also fought to be free of Serbian invaders.

Bibi said...

Anonymous, please refer to:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosovo

Also, this blog is NOT for airing political views, so please don't write any more opinions. Such comments will be deleted.