American Jewish groups again demand the restitution of property. The value of claims is at least 60 billion dollars.
Several days ago, the World Jewish Congress, the World Organization of Jewish Affairs for Restitution,as well as Stuart Eisenstat, special advisor to the United States Secretary of State for Holocaust issues, expressed deep disappointment, sadness and regret at the suspension of work on the re-privatization bill.
The appeal for restitutions was joined by the Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich who has stated that the refusal to return property is immoral. It is strange that the representatives of the Jewish community somehow do not get it that their claims are groundless, that the Polish state has no outstanding ommitments regarding restitution of property, and that re-privatization continued for years and has already led to the return of tens of thousands of properties by way of administrative and judicial intervention. Three years ago, the United States Congress in its resolution included such wording: "the Polish government IS URGED for the immediate enactment of a fair and omprehensive law.... We URGE also to ensure that the law on restitution and compensations are established as a non-bureaucratic, simple and transparent process.... "
It may of course be that it is impossible to determine the familial heirs of the estates taken from their Jewish owners. Then, under such circumstances, as claimed by Jewish organizations, estates should be transferred to foundations designed to deal with the commemoration of Jewish heritage. The value of the potential claims relating to Jewish property is variously estimated,
the lowest given sum is 60 billion dollars.
[Yet In any democratic country the related applicable rule of law holds that the only entity legally entitled to the successive ownership of any assets left by her heir-less and intestate citizens is the government of their country which, in these cases, is Poland. – added by zk]
(The United States Congress should remember who sold Poland "down the river" to Stalin at Tehran and Yalta during World War II, and who imposed communism in Poland by killing the opposition. Morally, it would seem appropriate for the United States and the World Jewish Congress to admit that it is about time that legislative work on a bill should be initiated that would compensate Poland and its citizens for their properties east of the Kurzon Line that had been arbitrarily and forcibly seized on what was to be a permanent basis by the Soviet Union in September 1939, in an action similar to that of the seizure of Crimea by the Russian Federation some 75 years later. - added by zk)
Poland and accession to NATO (extortion of restitutions - add by .zk)
Jewish organizations since the mid-1990s have attempted to persuade Poland to enact laws of restitution (then in exchange for consent to admission to NATO). Initially they demanded, above all, the return of the property to Jewish communities. In 1997 the Sejm passed a law of the reimbursement of municipal property, and because of that the Polish Jewish communities regained many public facilities, the return of which occurred in a very wide range, and the formalities were maximally reduced. Rightly so, then the Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski stated that Poland had generously returned communal Jewish properties.
As of today
From a legal point of view, the Jews who lost their estates in Poland during World War II already received full compensation in accordance with the United States - Poland Agreement of July 16, 1960. This is confirmed by the United States Department of Justice. Compensation for the effects of the Holocaust was paid by the German state. It was the Germans who invaded Poland, confiscated Jewish estates, organized and carried out the Holocaust. Under the Treaty of 1952 between the State of Israel and the Federal Republic of Germany (i.e., West Germany), that non-communist German nation sent Israel approximately 3.5 billion marks for damages. In addition, Israel received annual economic and financial assistance. The total value of all financial benefits from West Germany for Israel and its citizens were estimated at 60 billion marks. That it was the right sum of payment and full satisfaction was evident by the fact that the Jewish community since then has not announced any other claims against Germany, and from its related operative negotiation terminology the term "German concentration camps"
(and the word Germany, has been replaced by the word, Nazis – added by zk).
Restitution by Poland to private owners.
Already almost thirty thousand of the former owners and their descendants have obtained favorable rulings for themselves, and almost twice as many cases are being handled. Every case of lost property is different. The properties obtained by the state varied, some stay stable in worse shape, and others regained original elegance thanks to larger investments. Related costs and benefits varied, as it happened that the state had occupied the heavily indebted properties by the former owners and burdened with mortgages. Specialized judicial and administrative measures are designed to thoroughly and properly settle these matters. In 2010 alone, it paid nearly 150 million złoty to former owners of property from the restitution fund. Therefore, all who desire to have their cases to be dealt fairly should seek recourse before the courts and administrative bodies.
The statement of the Minister
Minister Sikorski has recently recalled the agreement for damages (restitution) concluded in 1960 by Poland and the USA. Under its provisions, Poland submitted $ 40 million to the United States for "total settlement and discharge of all claims of U. S. nationals, both individuals and others, to the Polish Government" for any decision to re-acquire expropriated property. This sum was to be allocated "at the discretion of the Government of the United States", and also: "After the entry into force of the agreement, the United States Government will not present the Polish Government with, nor will support, the claims of US citizens to the Polish Government." The agreement makes clear that henceforth any claim of United States citizens for compensation for property lost in Poland can be directed only to authorities of the American government..
Does Poland have any restitution commitments yet to nationals of other countries?
John Bogutyn rresponds, president of InterRisk Insurance Company SA,
former Polish Deputy Minister of Finance
As a citizen I am appalled by the recent alleged claims. I believe that we should not have any obligations, because in light of the agreements from the period of my work in the Ministry of Finance, this issue was regulated in the communist era. In the early 1960s in an almost perfect way the Polish government negotiated settlements for the property, which was nationalized and belonged to citizens of other countries, including Americans. A document from the American side was signed by U.S. President John F. Kennedy, and on the Polish side by Prime Minister Jozef Cyrankiewicz. It implied that Poland gave $ 40 million to the United States for claims of payments to involved American citizens. This agreement was ratified by the U.S. Congress and the Polish Sejm. The U.S. government took responsibility for any liabilities which could arise on the part of its citizens. Now the correct address for submitting claims is the State Department in Washington. I'm surprised that nobody, neither in the U.S. nor in Poland, remembers that. What I read now about the claims, it seems to me, is a scandal. Why do we have to pay twice for something that has already been paid? This would be an unjustified attempt to extort property, this would be a daylight robbery. Poland had signed such agreements with 14 countries, i.e., liabilities to Swiss citizens were paid by our supplies of coal, Americans were paid in cash. Today, if someone thinks that some property should be his or hers, that person can always individually take legal action.
It must be remembered that these properties -- apart from their nominal values -- over many years after the nationalization were maintained, repaired, and taxes paid for should be taken into account for any evaluation. In other states that have followed a road similar to that of Poland, e.g.,
the Czech Republic, the problem is completely non-existant.
Prof. Lyudmila Dziewięcka-Bokun, law, economics, political science, social policy, rector of the Lower Silesian School of Public Service "Assessor" in Wroclaw
We cannot for generations pay for historical injustice, sometimes even reaching back to the [18th century] Partitions of Poland. Other countries have already done it, and we still expose ourselves to various comments, political, and religious connotations. This should have been closed long ago; otherwise our wealth will be plundered, and distributed anew. Each new Polish ruling party wants to show its good will to the citizens of other countries who report further claims. This must be done once, finally and categorically, so in the future misunderstandings will be avoided.
statements noted by Bronislaw Tumiłowicz
[The letter of June 29, 2015 signed by 46 congressmen addressed to the Secretary of State John Kerry, once again refers to restitutions. It is now a good opportunity for the PAC to summarize this issue and together with the Polish government end up restitutions clams once and for all – comment by zk]-----
(synopsis, translation and footnotes Zbyszek Koralewski, editing Prof. Anthony Bajdek)
Poland already paid - author Andrew Dryszel, April 3, 2011