Sunday, January 29th | 7 Shevat 5783

June 27, 2021 1:43 pm

Israel Summons Polish Envoy Over Holocaust Property Bill

× [contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Jona Laks, survivor of Dr. Josef Mengele’s twins experiments and her granddaughter, Lee Aldar stand next to the gate with the slogan “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work sets you free”) as they start their visit at the Auschwitz death camp in Oswiecim, Poland January 26, 2020. Photo: Reuters/Nir Elias.

Israel summoned Poland’s ambassador on Sunday to express its “deep disappointment” over a Polish bill that critics say will make it harder for Jews to recover property seized by the country’s Nazi occupiers during World War Two and then kept by post-war communist rulers, the Foreign Ministry said.

Poland’s lower house of parliament on Thursday passed a draft bill introducing a statute of limitations on claims for the restitution of property, drawing a furious response from Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who labelled it a “disgrace.”

A statement from the Israeli Foreign Ministry said the legislation could affect up to 90% of property restitution requests from Holocaust survivors and their descendants.

“This is not a historical debate about responsibility for the Holocaust, but a moral debt of Poland to those who were its citizens and whose property was looted during the Holocaust and under the communist regime,” the statement said.

Related coverage

January 29, 2023 11:50 am

Israel to Seal Home of Palestinian, 13, Behind Saturday’s Terror Attack in Jlem

i24 News - Israeli government on Sunday voted to seal the east Jerusalem home of the 13-year-old Palestinian perpetrator of...

The Polish Foreign Ministry has in turn summoned Israel’s charge d’affaires in Warsaw for Monday, deputy foreign minister Pawel Jablonski said on Sunday.

Almost all of Poland’s Jews, about three million people, were wiped out in the Nazi Holocaust. Jewish former property owners and their descendants have been campaigning for compensation from Poland since the fall of communism in 1989.

The legislation would implement a 2015 Constitutional Tribunal ruling that there should be a deadline after which faulty administrative decisions can no longer be challenged. The law sets this deadline at 30 years.

The legacy of World War II, and related Polish legislation, has previously strained ties between Poland and Israel. Thousands of Poles risked their lives to protect Jewish neighbors during the war. But research published since 1989 showed that thousands also killed Jews or denounced those who hid them to the German occupiers.

In 2018 the government was forced to back down and remove parts of a Holocaust law that imposed jail terms on people who suggested the nation was complicit in Nazi crimes, which angered the United States and Israel.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.