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New York - New York Financial Leaders Call For Poland To Provide Restitution To Holocaust Victims

Published on: July 30, 2015 04:14 PM
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FILE - Polish-born Holocaust survivor Meyer Hack shows his prisoner number tattooed on his arm during a news conference at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem June 15, 2009. REUTERSFILE - Polish-born Holocaust survivor Meyer Hack shows his prisoner number tattooed on his arm during a news conference at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem June 15, 2009. REUTERS

New York -  New York Comptrollers Scott Stringer and Thomas DiNapoli, as well as California State Treasurer John Chiang have joined forces to urge Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacs to “adopt measures to restore real property and provide restitution to the victims of the Holocaust.”

In a letter to sent to Prime Minister Kopacs, the financial leaders noted that Poland, once home to three million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis and seventy years after the Holocaust, is still the only European Union member-state and only major former Soviet-bloc country with no measures in place to grant any type of restitution or compensation to survivors. Polish leaders have dragged their feet despite repeated pledges to pass legislation to address this issue.

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“Seventy years after World War II, we must use every tool available to make sure that victims of the Holocaust and their heirs receive restitution or compensation in their lifetimes,” New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said. “We value the close relationship between Poland and the United States and welcome the opportunity to begin a dialogue about the effort to pass a law to restore or compensate victims for property seized by the Nazis, or nationalized by Communist governments.” New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli added, “The tragedy of the Holocaust is still borne today by its survivors and the heirs of its victims. Compensation for their suffering and their losses is the right and just action to take. It is time for Poland to step forward. We hope and expect that the close bonds between our two nations will help Poland finally adopt a formal restitution policy.”

“Most of the 3 million Polish Jewish victims and the many other Polish victims of the Holocaust have passed away without recompense for property the Nazis took from them,” said California Treasurer John Chiang. “The families and the last still-living victims of the Nazis’ deserve compensation. To all those who suffered, we owe our fullest effort to work with Poland to make restitution for what they lost.”


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Read Comments (7)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jul 30, 2015 at 04:56 PM 5TResident Says:

What, the Poles don't hate us enough already?

2

 Jul 30, 2015 at 05:10 PM Tullysghost Says:

My father's house is in Rohatyn which was in pre- war Poland BUT in present day Ukraine-- and if you think that the Bandera- worshipping Ukrainians will let me claim the house you are in orbit!!!!

3

 Jul 30, 2015 at 07:12 PM mewhoze Says:

I think children whose parents were receiving monthly checks from Europe should be entitled to this as well.

4

 Jul 30, 2015 at 08:13 PM yitzy spitzer Says:

why hasn't anyone brought up the fact that thousands of yidden were forced out of their homes in Poland and sent to Siberia where thousands of yidden died of malnutrition and freezing to death. They also lost everything and had to survive in one of the harshest climates in the world with barely any food clothing or shelter. Why are they any worse then the jews who hid out in the forest and are not entitled to any reparations.

5

 Jul 30, 2015 at 08:43 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
mewhoze Says:

I think children whose parents were receiving monthly checks from Europe should be entitled to this as well.

I'm the American-born child of a holocaust survivor, and some of my personal problems may have been rooted in how my father tried to cope with his loss and pain and suffering. I could benefit financially from this kind of program, but I see this call by American politicians as cruelly hypocritical - telling other countries to pay out for crimes of a past generation, while holding our own country above international law and refusing to pay reparations to our country's victims of torture, and to the survivors of our country's war crimes. How do they square making demands of Poland, when no member of the US government or military has been tried and prosecuted? Forty years after the war, my father was still having nightmares, reliving a single week of nazi interrogation and torture - that's the kind of childhood I had. I can't imagine what it must be like for victims of our government and their families.

6

 Jul 31, 2015 at 02:05 AM frater Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

I'm the American-born child of a holocaust survivor, and some of my personal problems may have been rooted in how my father tried to cope with his loss and pain and suffering. I could benefit financially from this kind of program, but I see this call by American politicians as cruelly hypocritical - telling other countries to pay out for crimes of a past generation, while holding our own country above international law and refusing to pay reparations to our country's victims of torture, and to the survivors of our country's war crimes. How do they square making demands of Poland, when no member of the US government or military has been tried and prosecuted? Forty years after the war, my father was still having nightmares, reliving a single week of nazi interrogation and torture - that's the kind of childhood I had. I can't imagine what it must be like for victims of our government and their families.

It's restitution not reparations. Poland is not liable for German crimes and the Polish state, which was completely overrun by Nazi Germany and not in control of the territory, is not liable for crimes of individual Polish collaborators. Restitution is not payment for torture or suffering, but compensation for property that was nationalized by the Polish state after the war. Nowadays, former owners can try to reclaim their property, but they have to do it individually. It's complicated (though not impossible). Jewish organizations and other governments call for simplified procedures. More controversial is the idea that Poland should provide compensations for ALL Jewish property, independently of whether heirs survived or not (if not, which is usually the case, the money would go to Jewish organizations).
Restitution is also an issue for a number of non-Jewish Poles who are trying to reclaim properties nationalized by communists.

7

 Jul 31, 2015 at 02:09 AM frater Says:

Reply to #4  
yitzy spitzer Says:

why hasn't anyone brought up the fact that thousands of yidden were forced out of their homes in Poland and sent to Siberia where thousands of yidden died of malnutrition and freezing to death. They also lost everything and had to survive in one of the harshest climates in the world with barely any food clothing or shelter. Why are they any worse then the jews who hid out in the forest and are not entitled to any reparations.

Let's ask Mr. Putin what he thinks about reparations to victims of Soviet terror...

As I said though, it's not about reparations, it's about restitution. If a Jew had property in pre-war Poland, he would be entitled to restitution whether he spent the war in Soviet Union or in a German concentration camp. If he didn't own property, he would not receive anything, no matter his life story.

8

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