Families seeking Shoah restitution criticise polish limits

Families seeking Shoah restitution criticise polish limits

Poland's parliament decided to limit the claims for private property in Warsaw

Stephen is the Jewish News' Foreign Editor


Those seeking restitution for Holocaust victims’ families this week lashed out at a tribunal verdict upholding the Polish Parliament’s decision to limit claims for private property in the capital Warsaw.

Since October 1945, claimants have applied for the restitution of private city property, all of which was transferred to Warsaw municipality after the war, but Soviet authorities ignored most claims, before closing the process in 1988.

This week the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) criticised a decision by the Polish Constitutional Tribunal backing “an unjust law” passed last year that limits the rights of claimants.

The organisation said that Poland was now the only European Union country that had failed to establish a comprehensive programme to address the issue of confiscated Holocaust- or Communist-era private property”.

“We are very disappointed,” said Gideon Taylor, WJRO chair of operations. “This decision highlights the need for Poland, at long last, to do what all other countries in the former Soviet bloc have done.”

About 3.3 million Jews lived in Poland before the war, but an estimated 90 percent were wiped out during the Holocaust. About 350,000 lived in Warsaw, among them the relatives of hundreds of British Jews.

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