Zagreb – Croatia is transferring a piece of land in Zagreb to the Jewish community for property taken from the community during WWII as restitution.

The property at 6 Dezmanova St. is a 6-story building located on 874 square meters of land. The building was built in 1927 by the Jewish burial society, a welfare institution serving the Jewish community. The Nazi-allied Independent State of Croatia took the property in 1941. It was briefly returned to the Jewish community in 1947, but then nationalized by the Croatian government a month later, according to The World Jewish Restitution Organization.

“This is a long-awaited, but important first step in addressing the legacy of the Holocaust in Croatia and in ensuring that the Jewish community can continue to revitalize itself in a democratic Croatia,” Daniel S. Mariaschin, head of the WJRO negotiating team and executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International, said. “The income from this restituted property, valued at about $4 million, will help to fund the operation of the Zagreb Jewish Community’s facility for the elderly, among other essential communal needs.”

The property was originally owned by the Kleins, a Jewish family killed in Auschwitz Birkenau. It is currently owned by the Croatian Agricultural Cooperative Union.

The decision to return the land comes before the Dec. 8-9 negotiations with WJRO representatives and after joint negotiations held in April with WJRO representatives and a U.S. delegation.

Croatia’s Jewish communities submitted claims for 135 communal properties under Croatia’s 1996 restitution law, but only 15 non-cemetery properties were returned.