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JERUSALEM, Jan. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- 6 Sh'vat, 5772 -- Project HEART announced today that its searchable online database of Holocaust era property records now contains more than two million records, and it has plans to release additional records in the coming months.
The Project HEART database is the largest, publically available single-source database of lost Jewish property assets from the Holocaust era. Continued growth of the Project HEART database is consistent with the project's ultimate goal of helping to achieve a small measure of justice to eligible heirs of Jewish victims, the victims themselves, and the Jewish people.
The online database was first unveiled on May 1, 2011, at which time, it contained over 500,000 records. Since that time, the Project HEART database has grown exponentially. The records were compiled and made available by Project HEART (Holocaust Era Asset Restitution Taskforce), an initiative of the Government of Israel, the Ministry of Senior Citizens, in partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel, to help Jewish families identify personal property confiscated by the Nazis and to help bring about negotiations with countries that have not yet come forward to compensate victims or their heirs for private property.
Project HEART's Executive Director, Bobby Brown, stated that the continued growth of the Project HEART database "is monumental in its impact, since it allows Jewish Holocaust victims and their heirs who did not know details previously about their family's property, to participate in the project."
Leah Nass, Deputy Minister for Senior Citizens, representing the Government of Israel, said, "There is no question that the two million records in the Project HEART database makes it the most comprehensive database of Holocaust era property records to date. We are reconstructing a chapter of our stolen heritage."
Natan Sharansky, the Chairman of the Jewish Agency, stated, "We remain committed to achieving restitution for those whose plight has been ignored for too long." Sharansky added, "A searchable online database of two million property records allows us to give a piece of stolen history back to the Jewish people."
Launched in late February 2011, Project HEART seeks to identify Jewish Holocaust victims and their heirs worldwide whose families owned real estate, movable, immovable, or other intangible personal property that was confiscated, looted, or forcibly sold in countries governed or occupied by the Nazi forces or Axis powers during the Holocaust era. The only limitation for application is if restitution has been made to a victim or the victim's heirs for that property after the Holocaust era, then they are not eligible for further restitution in connection with that property.
"The public's response to the Project HEART database has been exceptional," stated Anya Verkhovskaya, Project Director, who added, "Now, that the database contains more than two million records, we are receiving over 500,000 hits each week, showing the tremendous need that Project HEART is filling."
Individuals can access the database on the Project HEART website: www.heartwebsite.org. To participate in Project HEART, individuals need to fill out the Questionnaire that may be found on the website.
Since its inception, details about Project HEART's purpose and the application process have been translated into 13 languages, and a 24-hour call center is operational in all languages. Project HEART receives thousands of requests for additional information each week. Project HEART officials are certain that the growth of the online database to two million records will translate into the growth of the number of Holocaust victims and their heirs who are able to participate in the project. The growth of the online database will also strengthen the public awareness that is necessary to help convince those that have not addressed this issue to come to the negotiating table.