An image of child prisoners taken at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland  by liberating Soviet forces in 1945
An image of child prisoners taken at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland by liberating Soviet forces in 1945
Photo: AP
An image of child prisoners taken at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland by liberating Soviet forces in 1945

Polish parliament passes bill to limit WW2 property restitution claims

Western diplomats in Warsaw voice concern over legislation; Foreign Minister Lapid slams bill, calling it a 'disgrace that will not erase the horrors or the memory of the Holocaust'

Reuters |
Published: 06.24.21, 23:24
Poland's parliament late on Thursday passed a draft bill which is expected to make it harder for Jews to recover property seized by Nazi German occupiers and kept by postwar communist rulers, in a move set to fuel tensions with Israel and the United States.
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  • Poland was home to one of the world's biggest Jewish communities until it was almost entirely wiped out by the Nazis during World War Two. Jewish former property owners and their descendants have been campaigning for compensation since the fall of communism in 1989.
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    An image of child prisoners taken at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland  by liberating Soviet forces in 1945
    An image of child prisoners taken at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland  by liberating Soviet forces in 1945
    An image of child prisoners taken at the Auschwitz death camp in Poland by liberating Soviet forces in 1945
    (Photo: AP)
    In 2015, Poland's Constitutional Tribunal ruled that there must be a deadline set, after which faulty administrative decisions can no longer be challenged. In March, a parliamentary committee proposed a bill to implement that ruling with deadlines ranging from 10-30 years.
    Critics say that would put a time limit on requests for restitution.
    "No law will change history. It is a disgrace that will not erase the horrors or the memory of the Holocaust," Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement shortly after the vote.
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    שר החוץ יאיר לפיד בישיבת סיעה
    שר החוץ יאיר לפיד בישיבת סיעה
    Foreign Minister Yair Lapid
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    Earlier this week, President Reuven Rivlin wrote to Polish President Andrzej Duda expressing concern over the rules.
    The law, which introduces a 30-year deadline, passed through the lower house of parliament, the Sejm, with 309 votes in favor, no votes against and 120 abstentions, according to Polish state news agency PAP, and is now expected to be discussed by the upper house of parliament, the Senate.
    A group of Western diplomats in Warsaw also wrote to the Polish officials to voice their worries.
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