Poland signs law to prevent return of post-WWII property

President Andrzej Duda has signed a law which would allow Warsaw to refuse property claims for confiscations made after World War II.

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Nissan Tzur,

Warsaw (Illustration)
Warsaw (Illustration)
Miriam Alster/ Flash 90

Polish president Andrzej Duda has signed a bill into law, which would make it difficult for owners to reclaim property which was confiscated under the communist regime in Poland after World War II.

In 1945, immediately after the end of the Second World War, Poland's communist leader, Boleslaw Bierut, ordered the confiscation of tens of thousand of buildings from their legal owners, nationalizing them "for the good of the state."

A large portion of those buildings belonged to Jews who lived in Poland before the war. Estimates put the number at around 24 thousand buildings throughout Poland.

After communism fell in 1989, the rightful owners were allowed to sue for the return of their property. As of now, Poland's president has signed a law which states that the city of Warsaw is allowed to reject such property claims which were nationalized and are being used for public purposes, such as schools or kindergartens.

Similarly, Warsaw will not be required to return buildings which were at least 66 percent destroyed during or after the war.

Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz said that, "This is very good news indeed. Once it goes into effect, the law should allow us to maintain public land and public buildings, including schools and kindergartens, from possible lawsuits."

The law was intended to pass a year previous, when the Polish parliament approved it - but former president Bronislaw Komorowski refused to sign it, instead forwarding it to Poland's constitutional court. A few months ago, the court ruled that the law complies with the Polish constitution.








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