Poland's Parliament Passed A Law Preventing Former Polish Property Owners from Regaining Property #poland #holocaust #announcements

Jan Meisels Allen



Poland’s Parliament passed a law on August 11th preventing former Polish property owners, including Holocaust survivors and their descendants from regaining property expropriated by the Communist regime. “ The adopted amendment to Poland’s administrative law would prevent property ownership and other administrative decisions from being declared void after 30 years. It affects Jewish and non-Jewish owners who had properties seized in the communist era.  In the case of the former Jewish owners, at stake in many cases are the homes or business of families who were wiped out in the Holocaust and whose properties were later seized by Poland’s communist-era authorities.”


When communism fell in 1989, it opened up the possibility for former owners to try to regain lost properties. Some cases have made their way through the courts, but Poland has never passed a comprehensive law that would regulate restituting or compensating seized properties.


Poland says the new legislation is a response to fraud and irregularities that have emerged in the restitution process, leading to evictions or giving real estate to property dealers in a process called “wild re-privatization.”


The World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) called on President Andrzej Duda to veto the bill and urged the Polish government to work with it to “once and for all settle the issue of private property restitution.”


In Israel, Speaker of the Knesset Mickey Levy decided not to re-establish the Israeli-Polish parliamentary friendship group. Speaker Levy said, “The anti-restitution law restricting property claims by victims of the Holocaust is a daylight robbery that desecrates the memory of the Holocaust. Poland’s decision to pass this immoral law harms the friendship and bilateral relations between Israel and Poland.”


The United States had been pressuring Poland in hopes of stopping the legislation.  “We are deeply concerned that Poland’s parliament passed legislation today severely restricting the process for Holocaust survivors and their families, as well as other Jewish and non-Jewish property owners, to obtain restitution for property wrongfully confiscated during Poland’s communist era,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. He urged Duda to not sign the bill into law or to refer it to Poland’s constitutional tribunal. President Duda has 21 days to sign it into law.


To read more see:  https://apnews.com/article/europe-middle-east-poland-laws-aff8252937db7f5b8e3653f71e7726bb


Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee


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