Israel rebukes Poland for law limiting property claims seized by Nazis

Measure affects persecuted Jews, including those under Poland’s former communist government

National Weekend Edition /
Aug.August 21, 2021 12:00 PM
 Polish President Andrzej Duda and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (Getty)

Polish President Andrzej Duda and Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (Getty)

Israel has pulled its top diplomat from Poland, angry about a decision that limits claims on property seized by the Nazis and later by Poland’s communist government.

Polish President Andrzej Duda signed the law last week limiting claims to a property to 30 years after confiscation, according to Reuters.

Previously, Jewish expatriates and descendants — or anyone else — could claim a property was illegally seized and demand its return.

World War 2-era confiscations are well beyond the 30-year limit on claims, along with many post-war seizures by Poland’s then-communist government that took control over many of those seized properties.

Polish officials said these restitution claims caused too much confusion over property ownership, according to the report. Corrupt officials regularly bought and sold title claims as well, according to BBC.

Unlike other European Union countries, Poland does not have a fund to compensate people for seized property.

While Jewish claims make up a minority of the total, critics of the new limit say that Jewish claimants are disproportionately affected because many were late to file for restitution.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called the law “anti-Semitic and immoral.”

“Poland has tonight become an anti-democratic, non-liberal country that does not honor the greatest tragedy in human history,” Lapid said.

The United States also opposed the bill.

[Reuters, BBC] — Dennis Lynch 





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