Poland readying law to bar claims for war compensation: official

Poland’s government is readying a bill to protect the country against any claims for compensation over World War II, an official in Warsaw has said.

Michał Dworczyk, head of the Polish Prime Minister's Office. Photo: Polish Radio

Michał Dworczyk, head of the Polish Prime Minister’s Office. Photo: Polish Radio

Michał Dworczyk, head of the Polish Prime Minister’s Office, said that details of the legislation would be unveiled when the lower house of Poland’s parliament, the Sejm, gathers for its next meeting scheduled for May 15-17.

Poland’s conservative leader Jarosław Kaczyński said at the weekend that Poland had no financial obligations arising from the wartime years „in terms of the law” and “elementary morality.”

Instead, he said, over EUR 1 trillion in war reparations could be owed to his country, which suffered massive damage at the hands of Nazi Germany in World War II.

Speaking during a campaign event, Kaczyński, who heads Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, said on Saturday that possible dues to Poland in the wake of World War II ran into tens or even hundreds of billions of euros, „perhaps even more than a trillion.”

He also said that German wartime crimes were being attributed to Poland, while in fact his country was the first in Europe to fight the aggressor during WWII.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told Saturday’s gathering that his government would find legal solutions to protect Poland from any claims for war damages.

Dworczyk, who is a senior aide to Morawiecki, on Tuesday referred to a US law on monitoring compensation for Holocaust survivors in European countries, saying the law did not “bear any legal consequences” for Poland.

Dworczyk told public broadcaster Polish Radio that the US law had no legal force in Poland and that “it is regrettable that some people are trying to use for political ends the fact that such a document has been adopted in the United States.”

Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said a year ago that the US law on monitoring compensation for Holocaust survivors was “unfair.”

He was speaking after US President Donald Trump last May signed the Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act, a law under which the US State Department is expected to report to Congress on what steps countries in Europe have taken to compensate Holocaust survivors and their heirs for property seized under Nazi German occupation and communism.

Poland’s Czaputowicz said in a media interview at the time that the law, which had previously been adopted by the US Senate and Congress, did “not offer any legal instruments.”

He also said that the JUST Act was “not just” because it divided Polish citizens into „Jews and non-Jews.”

“There can be no discrimination against non-Jews, and the majority of those to whom restitution applies are people of Polish nationality,” Czaputowicz said.

Most of Poland’s large Jewish population was murdered by the occupying Germans during World War II.

After the war, a Moscow-backed communist government took power in Poland, confiscated large amounts of property and nationalised it. Most of the owners of nationalised property were non-Jewish Poles.

(gs/pk)

Source: IAR/PAP

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