Milo Zeman

Prime Minister of the Czech Republic

In Prague, July 19, 2001

Ref. No.: 30532101 - LRY


Baroness Sarah Ludford

Member of the European Parliament

36 St. Peter's Street

London, N1 8IT



Dear baroness,

1 have carefully studied your opinion in respect of legal regulations of the Czech Republic adopted in the effort to mitigate the consequences of some injuries to property and other cases of injustice, which occurred in the period between 1948 and 1989.

Regretfully, 1 must inform you that 1 am unable to take a stand on the matter of the possible restitution of the property of Dr. Alfred Hirsch mentioned in your letter, as 1 am not informed of the important facts necessary in order to assess the relevant matter; your letter does not include such information.

Nevertheless, 1 would like to assure you, dear baroness, that 1 still consider the issue of remedy of the injuries to property to be very serious, and 1 pay special attention to it. In connection therewith, let me inform you that the Czechoslovak Federal Republic (Československ federativnī republika), or subsequently the Czech Republic is the only post-communist country that performed - as a result of the substantial societal changes after 1989 - a massive remedy of injuries/torts caused by the communist regime and for that purpose adopted a large number of rehabilitation and restitution laws. The Czech Republic can undoubtedly be considered the only European country that has dealt with the injuries to property caused by holocaust to its Jewish citizens.

The citizenship condition, which is not included in all the relevant legal regulations, has been repeatedly a subject to examination by the Constitution Court of the Czech Republic as well as the European Human Rights Court, and both institutions have agreed that the citizenship condition is legitimate.

I also consider it necessary to inform you and your voters that there is a legislation adopted in 1990 and subsequently in 1999, which made it substantially easier to regain the citizenship for the former citizens of this country who lost it in the period from February 25, 1948 to March 28, 1990, and they were even able to regain the citizenship without having to lose their current citizenship. Compensation of the injuries to property caused to the victims of holocaust or their descendants who cannot be - due to the absence of the condition of Czech citizenship - included in the restitution according to the applicable laws is taken care of by the establishment of the Foundation Fund for the Victims of Holocaust at the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic, to which the Czech Republic contributed an amount of CZK 300,000,000. The address of the Foundation Fund for the Victims of Holocaust is:

Nadačnī fond obĕtem holocaustu

Legerova 2411853

120 00 Praha 2

Czech Republic

Yours sincerely,

Milo Zeman