In light of the Polish Parliament’s intent to advance legislation on the return of confiscated property that would exclude most Holocaust survivors and their families, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein this week sent a letter to his Polish counterparts, Marshal of the Senate Stanislaw Karczewski and Marshal of the Sejm (lower house) Marek Kuchcinski, saying the proposal would “effectively prevent [survivors] from applying for compensation for property taken from them during the dark years of Nazi rule.”
The bill in question requires anyone seeking restitution for nationalized property to be Polish citizens and residents, spouses, children or grandchildren of the original owners.
“I appreciate the intent of this legislation, which seeks to provide fair compensation for property nationalized under Poland’s former Communist regime,” Speaker Edelstein wrote. “At the same time, I am concerned about the implications of this law for Polish survivors of the Nazi Holocaust and their descendants.”
“Preserving the memory of the Holocaust and addressing its ongoing implications fairly, justly and honestly is a matter of great importance to Israel and Jewish communities worldwide,” he wrote.
“In light of the warm and special relation between Poland and Israel, and specifically between our parliaments, I would urge you to consider amending the proposed legislation.”
Some three million Polish Jews, about 90% of Poland’s prewar Jewish population, were murdered in the Holocaust.