Part of the compensation was earmarked for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany, a private New York-based organization that works to secure restitution for survivors and their heirs. Descendants can come forward to claim their family's assets until the end of 2014 if they find their original property on a recently released list by the Claims Conference, called the Late Applicants Fund.
Over the years, the search for the heirs has become more complicated because most of the Holocaust survivors have died. Descendants also don't always have detailed knowledge of their family's former assets. The rise of social media has offered new opportunities to track heirs and close the books on one of the darkest chapters of German history.
Israel-based MyHeritage, a social media website with about 70 million registered users worldwide that lets individuals build their own family trees online, has been heavily involved. (NOTE: MyHeritage is also the exclusive sponsor of this newsletter.)
You can read more in an Associated Press article by Kirsten Grieshaber at http://bigstory.ap.org/article/social-media-help-track-property-lost-holocaust and in the MyHeritage blog at http://blog.myheritage.com/2013/07/myheritage-helps-discover-family-assets-putting-genealogy-to-positive-use/. Similar articles have also appeared in major news websites, including the Washington Post, New York Times, and NBC.