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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release November 30, 1998

The President today announced his intent to appoint twelve members to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets in the United States. Edgar M. Bronfman will Chair the Commission. Other members from the private sector are Roman Kent, Ira Leesfield, Jehuda Reinharz, Margaret Richardson, Patricia Schroeder, William Singer, and Cecil Williams. Also named by President Clinton, as representatives from the Federal Government, are Stuart Eizenstat, Department of State, Patrick Henry, Department of the Army, James Robinson, Department of Justice and Neal Wolin, Department of Treasury.

Mr. Edgar M. Bronfman, of New York City, New York, is Chairman of The Seagram Company Ltd., and The Samuel Bronfman Foundation, Inc. He is also President of the World Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Restitution Organization, which is devoted to ensuring the return of communal Jewish property that had been stolen by the Nazis, and is Chairman of the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life (Hillel). Mr. Bronfman received his bachelor's degree from McGill University in Montreal.

Mr. Roman R. Kent, of Stamford, Connecticut, was born in Lodz, Poland and spent the 1939-45 war years in the Lodz Ghetto and in the Auschwitz, Mertzbachtal, Dornau and Flossenburg Concentration Camps. Mr. Kent is President of Namor International Corporation, an international trading company. He serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and also serves on the Boards of Tel Aviv University and The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous. Mr. Kent produced the documentary, Children in the Holocaust, partially filmed in Auschwitz, which won the New York International Film Festival award.

Mr. Ira H. Leesfield, of Coral Gables, Florida, is a founding partner in the law firm of Leesfield Leighton Rubio & Mahfood. He has also served as a Fellow of the American Bar Association, and as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Miami School of Law. Mr. Leesfield is Senior Florida Governor to the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, has twice been awarded the Wiedman Wisocki medal for outstanding advocacy, is the author of numerous articles and publications and is a frequent featured speaker at Continuing Legal Education programs. Mr. Leesfield was appointed by Governor Lawton Chiles to the Constitution Revision Committee to re-write the Florida constitution. Mr. Leesfield is a member of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and is a sponsor of several college scholarship programs. He received B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Florida and an L.L.M. from George Washington University Law Center.

Dr. Jehuda Reinharz, of Newton, Massachusetts, is President and the Richard Koret Professor of Modern Jewish History at Brandeis University. He is also on the boards of the United Israel Appeal/Jewish Agency, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Leo Baeck Institute in New York and is a member of the Academic Advisory Committee of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Dr. Reinharz has authored several books, his latest being Zionism and the Creation of a New Society. Born in Israel, he went to high school in Germany, and received bachelor's degrees from both Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary, his master's from Harvard University, and his doctorate from Brandeis University.

Ms. Margaret (Peggy) Milner Richardson, of Washington, D.C., is associated with Ernst & Young, LLP in Washington. Previously, she served as Commissioner of Internal Revenue from 1993 to 1997. Earlier in her career, Ms. Richardson clerked at the U.S. Court of Claims and then joined the Office of Chief Counsel at the Internal Revenue Service, where she later became the first woman promoted to executive rank. She serves on the board of the National Museum of Women in the Arts and the Board of Advisors for George Washington Law School. Ms. Richardson received her bachelor's degree from Vassar College and her law degree from George Washington University School of Law.

Ms. Patricia Scott Schroeder, of Denver, Colorado, is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of American Publishers, the national trade organization of the U.S. book publishing industry. From January to June 1997, she held the rank of Professor at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. Ms. Schroeder left Congress undefeated in 1996 after serving in the House of Representatives for 24 years. While in Congress, she was the Dean of Congressional Women, co-chaired the Congressional Caucus on Women's Issues for ten years, was Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee and was the first woman to serve on the House Armed Services Committee. As chair of the House Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families from 1991 to 1993, Congresswoman Schroeder saw the Family and Medical Leave Act and the National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act to fruition in 1993. She received a bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota and a law degree from Harvard Law School.

Mr. William S. Singer, of Chicago, Illinois, is a partner with the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis, handling general corporate and government practice. Mr. Singer was an Alderman for the City of Chicago from 1969 to 1975, and served as Vice President of the Chicago Board of Education and Chairman of its Finance and Labor Committee from 1989 to 1990. He is also a trustee of Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago, a member of the Columbia Law School Visitors Board and is a Fellow of Brandeis University. Mr. Singer received his bachelor's degree from Brandeis University and his law degree from Columbia University of Law.

Reverend Cecil Williams, of San Francisco, California, has been Pastor of the Glide Memorial United Methodist Church for over 35 years. As an urban church, Glide Church is the most comprehensive non-profit provider of human services in San Francisco, and over 3,500 meals are prepared and served each day. Their other programs range from outpatient substance treatment to academic tutoring for children to a computer learning center to enable people to develop employable skills. Rev. Williams is a member of the Board of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Non-Violent Change. He is also an author of several works, including his autobiography, I'm Alive. Rev. Williams is a graduate of the Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.

The Presidential Advisory Commission was established to examine the Holocaust assets in the United States and will focus on two key areas: first, to conduct original research on the collection and disposition of Holocaust era assets that came under the control of the U.S. Government after Hitler came to power in 1933 (assets such as gold, gems, bank accounts, financial instruments, insurance policies and art works); and, second, to review research being conducted more broadly in the public and private sectors. The Commission will issue a final report to the President summarizing its findings and making recommendations no later than December 31, 1999.