On September 1st Poland presented A REPORT ON THE LOSSES SUFFERED BY POLAND AS A RESULT OF GERMAN AGGRESSION AND OCCUPATION DURING WORLD WAR II, 1939-1945. The Report consists of three volumes: Volume A - A collection of studies; Volume B - Photographic documentary; Volume C - List of atrocity sites. The download will start automatically.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Haaretz: Changes in Polish law do not result from anti-Semitism; you can understand Poles

 Changes in Polish law do not result from anti-Semitism; One can understand Poles who want to set a statute of limitations on property claims, given that almost 80 years have passed since the end of the war, comments the Israeli daily Haaretz.

But Israel's embassy in Poland assessed that the amendment "would make it impossible to return Jewish property or seek compensation." Foreign Minister Jair Lapid said that "the new Polish law is a disgrace" and constitutes "a painful violation of the rights of Holocaust survivors," which "will seriously harm relations between the two countries."

Haaretz writes that according to the Polish government, confirmed in a report by the US State Department published last year, since the collapse of the communist regime in 1989, Poland has paid out about 2.3 billion dollars in compensation for property stolen from private individuals during the Nazi and communist regimes, although it is not known, how many of them were Jews.

"The average Pole in the countryside or the city, rightly from his perspective, asks himself why my taxes should compensate for crimes committed by another country, Germany, decades before my birth? For the crimes against which non-Jewish Poles were also victims," Haarec remarks.

Ofer Aderet writing for Haaretz explains to readers that a "long time since the war is a fertile ground for corruption and the entanglement of suspicious groups, including criminal ones, who used bureaucracy for their benefit and seized property that belonged to Jews or other owners before the war."

The author of the article, who often writes about Poland, also recalls "the particularly tragic story of Jolanta Brzeska, a social activist who led the tenants' fight against evictions and died, presumably killed, in 2011 in circumstances that are still under investigation".

The journalist takes up yet another theme. It concerns communal property returned to Jewish communities in Poland, such as synagogues and cemeteries. "Along with the money, the property was also received, but some communities said they were unable to maintain them," he wrote.

"When you travel around Poland, you are liable to find a former synagogue that was converted into a swimming pool, restaurant or pub after it was sold by the local Jewish community," Aderet added.

"Where did the money for the sales go?" - he ends his article.