US concerned over Polish restitution law

Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges Polish President not to sign law restricting process for Holocaust survivors and their families.

Elad Benari ,

Antony Blinken
Antony Blinken

The United States on Wednesday expressed concern over Poland’s passage of a law that would restrict the restitution process for Holocaust survivors and their families.

“We are deeply concerned that Poland’s parliament passed legislation today severely restricting the process for Holocaust survivors and their families, as well as other Jewish and non-Jewish property owners, to obtain restitution for property wrongfully confiscated during Poland’s communist era,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a statement.

“We urge that President Duda not sign the bill into law or that, in line with the authority granted to him as President, he refer the bill to Poland’s constitutional tribunal. A comprehensive law for resolving confiscated property claims is needed to provide some measure of justice for victims. Such a law would benefit many Polish citizens, as well as people who were forced to leave Poland during and after World War II and who subsequently became naturalized citizens of other countries. Until such a law is enacted, the pathway to compensation should not be closed for new claims or those pending decisions in administrative courts,” he added.

Earlier on Wednesday, Israel also criticized the passage of the bill in Poland.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid attacked the move, saying, "The State of Israel will not compromise when it comes to commemoration of the Holocaust. I condemn the legislation of the Polish parliament that was passed today and which violates the memory of the Holocaust and the rights of its victims."

"As far back as 2018, I opposed the joint declaration that was adopted and is being re-examined these days. I will continue to oppose any attempt to rewrite history, and promote compromises and concessions at the expense of the Jewish people and Holocaust victims. Poland knows what is the right thing to do, repeal the law," he added.

The US recently ramped up the pressure on Poland over the bill, saying Poland is the only country in Europe to have regressed over the past year in meeting commitments to return seized property or provide compensation for Holocaust victims and their families.

A recent report indicated that Israel asked the Biden administration to support its effort against the Polish restitution legislation.