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Passage of Polish Bill Limiting Holocaust Restitution Slammed as ‘Disgraceful’

Jews are seen being rounded up by the Nazis during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943.

August 12, 2021

Poland is facing withering global criticism, including from the U.S. and Israeli governments, after its parliament passed a bill on Wednesday that would effectively prevent future restitution to heirs of property stolen by the Nazis during World War II.

The bill — which still needs to be signed by Polish President Andrzej Duda to become law — stipulates that outstanding claims for the restitution of seized property that had not reached a final decision in the last 30 years would be halted or dismissed. Furthermore, new appeals of administrative decisions made over the past three decades would also be forbidden.

Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) Executive Director Sacha Roytman-Dratwa stated, “The disgraceful decision by the Polish authorities to curtail the rights of the victims of the Holocaust and their descendants to reclaim their stolen property, is nothing more than an attempt to stifle and suppress the voices of the victims of the darkest period in human history.”

“At a time when antisemitism is once again on the rise, this move will offer succor and encouragement to those vitriolic voices who wish to deny the true history of the Holocaust, or the impact and dangers of antisemitism today,” he added.

“The Combat Antisemitism Movement will continue to work with our partners around the world to highlight the dangers of anti-Jewish hatred in all its forms. Key to this is the importance of Holocaust remembrance and education,” Roytman-Dratwa concluded.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated, “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. We urge that President Duda not sign the bill into law or that, in line with the authority granted to him as President, he refer the bill to Poland’s constitutional tribunal.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said, “Israel will not compromise an iota on Holocaust remembrance. I condemn the legislation that harms the memory of the Holocaust and the rights of its victims.”

He continued, “Poland knows what is the right thing to do — annulling the law.”

Around 90 percent of Polish Jews — totaling approximately 3,000,000 people — were murdered by the occupying Nazis and their collaborators in the Holocaust. Their memories must not be allowed to be forgotten, and the rights of their families to justice and compensation should not be infringed upon for contemporary political purposes.