Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski
Photo: AP
A pathway leading to an observation and security tower between what were electric barbed wire fences inside the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz I in Oswiecim, Poland

Poland hopes Israel will change view on WWII claims law

Polish deputy FM briefs Israeli charge d'affaires in Warsaw on the new law after she called it 'immoral' and a risk to relations between 2 countries; critics say the law blocks Jews from claiming property seized during the Holocaust

AFP |
Published: 06.28.21, 16:11
Poland's deputy foreign minister said Monday he hoped that Israel would change its "approach" to a bill on World War II restitution claims which the Jewish state has condemned as "immoral".
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  • The bill, which passed the lower house of parliament last week, is intended to provide greater legal certainty for property owners against historical claims dating back to the Nazi occupation.
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    A pathway leading to an observation and security tower between what were electric barbed wire fences inside the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz I in Oswiecim, Poland
    A pathway leading to an observation and security tower between what were electric barbed wire fences inside the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz I in Oswiecim, Poland
    A pathway leading to an observation and security tower between what were electric barbed wire fences inside the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz I in Oswiecim, Poland
    (Photo: AP)
    But critics say it could effectively block Jews from claiming property seized during the Holocaust.
    Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski spoke after Israel's charge d'affaires in Warsaw, Tal Ben-Ari Yaalon, was summoned to the Polish foreign ministry to be briefed on the new law.
    Jablonski said in a televised briefing after Monday's meeting that Israeli criticism was "inappropriate" and "we hope that the approach of the Israeli side will change".
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    Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński
    Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński
    Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski
    (Photo: AP)
    Jewish claims for property were frozen during the Communist era and, unlike other countries in the region, Poland has never had a comprehensive law on restitution claims since the fall of Communist rule in 1989.
    Some families who lost property have since sought restitution or compensation but the process has been chaotic and long.
    The new law sets a cut-off date for some legal challenges of up to 30 years.
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    People take part in far right protest against the U.S. Senate's decision to accept a law that allows Jewish people to claim compensation for property lost during WW2 in Warsaw, Poland, May 11, 2019
    People take part in far right protest against the U.S. Senate's decision to accept a law that allows Jewish people to claim compensation for property lost during WW2 in Warsaw, Poland, May 11, 2019
    People take part in far-right protest against the U.S. Senate's decision to accept a law that allows Jewish people to claim compensation for property lost during WW2 in Warsaw, Poland, May 11, 2019
    (Photo: Reuters)
    This means that if a person bought a pre-war property in 1989 and has a specific official confirmation from that time proving their right to own it, any previous historical owners will now be excluded from contesting that right.
    Jablonski said critics in Israel "refer to the issue of the Holocaust, which this law does not address in any way. This demonstrates, I have the impression, a lack of knowledge of the facts".
    "This law is not aimed against anybody," he said.
    The new law still has to be passed by the Senate and signed by the president to enter into force.
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    מארק מגירובסקי שגריר פולין בישראל
    מארק מגירובסקי שגריר פולין בישראל
    Polish envoy to Israel Marek Magierowski
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    The Israeli embassy in Warsaw had earlier said "this immoral law will seriously impact relations between our countries".
    It "will in effect prevent the restitution of Jewish property or compensation requests from Holocaust survivors and their descendants as well as the Jewish community that called Poland home for centuries. It's mind-boggling," the embassy said.
    Israel's foreign ministry also summoned Poland's ambassador to Israel, Marek Magierowski, on Sunday.

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