Deputy Polish Foreign Minister and Gideon Taylor
Deputy Polish Foreign Minister and Gideon TaylorWorld Jewish Restitution Organization

Gideon Taylor, chair of operations for the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO), responded on Monday to Poland’s decision to cancel a visit by an Israeli delegation over their intention to raise the issue of the restitution of Jewish properties seized during the Holocaust.

“We are disappointed in the tone and language in Poland regarding property restitution in recent weeks,” said Taylor.

“Non-Jewish and Jewish property owners have waited many years for Poland to provide them with a measure of justice. This issue is not about the German Nazi confiscations during the occupation of Poland. It is about property subsequently nationalized by the Polish Communists that continues to benefit the Polish economy,” he continued.

“The Polish government introduced draft legislation to address this issue over a year ago. This issue is particularly important for Holocaust survivors, and their families, whose property was taken first by the German Nazis and then again by Communist Poland. We hope for a renewed dialogue with Poland so that they can address this historical injustice. WJRO appreciates the longstanding concern of Israel and the United States, as well as other countries, on this issue," he concluded.

Earlier on Monday, the Polish Foreign Ministry announced that "Poland decided to cancel the visit of Israeli officials after the Israeli side made last-minute changes in the composition of the delegation suggesting that the talks would primarily focus on the issues related to property restitution."

Several thousand nationalists rallied in the Polish capital on Saturday against a US law on the restitution of Jewish properties seized during the Holocaust, an issue which has surfaced ahead of parliamentary elections later this year.

Poland's governing right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party as well as the centrist and liberal opposition have downplayed the law signed by US President Donald Trump in May 2018, insisting that it will have no impact on Poland.

Anti-Semitic concerns regarding Poland have recently resurfaced.

Last year, Warsaw passed a law that made it illegal to accuse the Polish nation or state of complicity in Nazi German war crimes.

The move sparked an outcry from Israel, which saw it as an attempt to ban testimonials on Polish crimes against Jews.

In response, Warsaw amended the law to remove the possibility of fines or a prison sentence.