UK Lords Urge Pressure on Poland Over Holocaust Restitution
Prominent members of Britain’s upper legislative chamber on Monday expressed concern at the Polish government’s continued opposition to the restitution of properties seized during the Nazi Holocaust.
Debating the matter in the House of Lords on Monday afternoon, several speakers pointed out in frustration that no progress had been made with Poland after many years of effort.
“I have been asking the same question here for 11 years and getting the same response of no progress or promises,” Baroness Ruth Deech told the chamber. “Poland is the only country in the EU that has not passed legislation to deal with one of the greatest thefts in history.”
Lord Eric Pickles noted that the Polish government at the last moment withdrew a bill that “would have been a major obstacle to restitution,” he said, praising the British ambassador in Warsaw for meeting with the speaker of Poland’s parliament to express his concerns about the legislation.
Pickles then asked the Foreign Office minister, Lord Ahmad, whether he would “pledge that we will work alongside our allies in the United States and Poland to see that justice is brought to the families of Holocaust victims whose property was confiscated by the Nazis?”
Ahmad underlined the British government’s determination to pursue the issue at the bilateral level.
“I am sure I speak for all noble Lords when I say that wherever such atrocities took place ‐‐ I have visited Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland ‐‐ we should always commemorate and remember, and commit ourselves to ensuring that this kind of genocide does not happen again,” Lord Ahmad concluded.