Saturday, April 16, 2011

Genocide: AJC Welcomes Polish President's Remarks on Holocaust Restitution

SOURCE American Jewish Committee

AJC welcomes Poland President Bronislaw Komorowski's critique of his country's failure to enact a law allowing for the restitution of seized private properties confiscated by the Nazis and the Communists. In no uncertain terms, President Komorowski called the situation a "disgrace for Poland." Komorowski attacked the decision during an interview on Polish TV.

Last month, the Polish Government announced that it was reversing its longstanding promise to enact legislation to provide compensation to former property owners. Poland has asserted that such compensation would represent a serious economic burden, though the proposed legislation would have required reimbursements of only a small percentage of the original value. Poland, which will begin its six-month rotating Presidency of the EU in July, stands alone among new EU Member States in not addressing private property claims.

"We very much welcome President Komorowski's acknowledgement of his country's failure to follow through on a promise to all victims, the majority of whom, it should be noted, are not Jews, who owned property in pre-war Poland," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "Holocaust survivors as well as Polish victims around the world have been waiting nearly a lifetime for compensation for their property. Time is rapidly running out, and Poland, a country with which AJC has enjoyed excellent relations, should make good on its promise."

Poland, Europe's largest Jewish community before World War II, lost 90 percent of its 3.3 million Jews at the hands of the Nazis. After the war, Communist leaders seized property both of survivors and of those who fled the country as refugees.