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US senators want Poland to compensate Jews for property seized by Nazis

06.08.2019 14:06
Over 80 American senators have urged US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to press Poland to compensate Holocaust victims and their relatives for property seized by German Nazis in WWII and later nationalized by the communists.
Polish Radio
Polish RadioEnglish Section

In a letter to Pompeo signed by 88 US senators from both the Republican and Democratic parties, the politicians call on the US secretary of state to “pursue bold initiatives to help Poland to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.”

The move comes ahead of US President Donald Trump’s planned visit to Poland in September to attend commemorations of the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported on Tuesday.

In May, Poland’s conservative leader Jarosław Kaczyński said that Poland had no financial obligations arising from the wartime years "in terms of the law" and “elementary morality.”

Instead, he said, over EUR 1 trillion in war reparations could be owed to his country, which suffered massive damage at the hands of its Nazi German occupiers in World War II.

Kaczyński was referring to the US Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act, under which the US State Department is required to report to Congress on what steps countries in Europe have taken to compensate Holocaust survivors and their heirs for property seized under Nazi German occupation in Poland and communism.

Under Polish law, property without legal heirs belongs to the State Treasury.

An official in Warsaw said in May that Poland’s government was readying a bill to protect the country against any claims for compensation over World War II.

Most of Poland’s large Jewish population was murdered by the occupying Germans during World War II.

After the war, a Moscow-backed communist government took power in Poland, confiscated large amounts of property and nationalized it.


Source: IAR/rubio.senate.gov