Thursday, September 15, 2005

The lessons of restitution in Poland

Jews from Arab countries could learn a thing or two from the experience of Jews trying to get restitution for property in Poland.

According to the Jerusalem Report, "a new campaign to pressure Poland to pass special legislation that would facilitate restitution of Jewish-owned property from the Holocaust period or compensation for buildings no longer standing is about to be launched. So say World Jewish Congress Board chairman Dr. Israel Singer and Jewish Agency chairman Ze'ev Bielski, co-chairs of the World Jewish Restitution Organization, set up in 1992 to represent Israel and world Jewry in Holocaust restitution negotiations.

"Singer says the WJRO is opposed to a proposed Polish law that would award heirs of Nazi-confiscated property that was subsequently nationalized by the Communists 15 percent of its assessed value. To date, individuals who have pursued private claims through Polish courts have often been stymied by cumbersome legal demands and difficulties in obtaining relevant prewar documents.

"The attitude of the Polish government toward restitution of private property has been callous and we will not accept these nominal offers," says Singer.

Read article in full.

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