US ‘Deeply Concerned About Polish Restitution Law’: Blinken
i24 News – United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed his country’s “deep concern” over the Polish parliament’s passage of legislation Wednesday that would “severely restrict” Holocaust survivors and their descendants from obtaining restitution for property confiscated during Poland’s communist era, reported the Jerusalem Post.
Polish President Andrzej Duda now has 21 days to either sign the law into the statute books or veto it.
In July, the upper house of parliament, the Senate, moderated the original version of the law passed by the lower house, the Sejm, in June.
“We urge that President Duda not sign the bill into law or that, in line with the authority granted to him as president, he refer the bill to Poland’s constitutional tribunal,” Blinken said in a statement. He went on to say that a comprehensive law for resolving confiscated property claims is needed to provide some measure of justice for victims.
We are troubled by legislation passed in Poland severely restricting restitution for Holocaust survivors and owners of property confiscated during the Communist era, and draft legislation that would gravely weaken media freedom. Our shared values are our mutual security.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) August 11, 2021
Blinken added that the passage of the legislation ran “counter to principles and values for which modern, democratic nations stand.”
Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of US lawmakers wrote a letter to the Speaker of the Sejm, urging her to prevent the bill from advancing, maintaining that the almost total annihilation of Polish Jewry during the Second World War was an “issue of morality and closure.”