Polish Shoah survivor’s family wins lawsuit for land illegally sold to church

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Polish Shoah survivor’s family wins lawsuit for land illegally sold to church

End of protracted legal battle by the family of Blanka Goldman to regain ownership of the land

Lady Justice (Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash)
Lady Justice (Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash)

The Supreme Court of Poland upheld a 6-year-old ruling in favour of the descendants of a Holocaust survivor who had sued to reclaim from a Krakow-area church ownership of land stolen from her.

Monday’s decision by the court’s Chamber of Extraordinary Control and Public Rights ends a protracted legal battle by the family of Blanka Goldman to regain ownership of the land, which was sold illegally to the Our Lady of the Scapular church in the town of Tarnow.

The Poetschke family, who was not Jewish, hid Blanka from the German occupation forces during the Holocaust, the Gazeta Wyborcza paper reported. She was the only member of her family who survived.

She immigrated to Australia after World War II, leaving Hubert Poetschke, her rescuer, power of attorney over land that belonged to her family. Hubert died and his son, Jerzy, sold the land to the church. Church officials instructed him to falsely claim the land had been abandoned, the paper reported.

In 2010, Goldman’s daughter, Ann Drillich, learned the land had been stolen and sued to regain control of it. In fighting the lawsuit, the church  claimed in one court submission that the family was “cynically using the Holocaust” to increase its wealth.

The church lost the suit in 2014, but Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro’s office appealed to the Supreme Court.

Goldman’s family is seeking about $700,000 in damages, though the exact amount to be paid has yet to be determined by a court in Krakow.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: