New WJC Exec: Lauder To Head Restitution Effort
Embattled group’s new secretary general, in first interview, says ‘heavyweight’ WJC president to spearhead negotiations.
Steve Lipman – Staff Writer

The new top leadership team of the embattled World Jewish Congress will head to Eastern Europe soon to re-energize stalled negotiations over Holocaust-era restitution payments, Michael Schneider, the group’s next secretary general, said this week.

The political discussions will represent a return by the WJC, perceived as rudderless in recent years, to the activity that cemented its reputation as a representative of Jewish interests.

Schneider, whose appointment as the WJC’s top professional was approved last week by the organization’s steering committee, said he and President Ronald Lauder agree that the money owed by several Eastern European governments to the countries’ Jewish communities and to individual Holocaust survivors — compensation for funds and property taken out of Jewish hands during the time of Nazism and Communism — ranks as the first priority of the WJC.