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Poland's Duda signs bill to limit WW2 property restitution claims

Source : 112 Ukraine

Up to now, Jewish expatriates or their descendants could make a claim that a property had been seized illegally and demand its return
20:35, 14 August 2021

Polish President Andrzej Duda
IANS

Poland's president has decided to sign a bill that would set limits on the ability of Jews to recover property seized by Nazi German occupiers and retained by post-war communist rulers. This is a move likely to fuel tensions with Israel and the United States, Reuters reports.

"I made a decision today on the act, which in recent months was the subject of a lively and loud debate at home and abroad," Andrzej Duda said in a statement. "After an in-depth analysis, I have decided to sign the amendment."

Up to now, Jewish expatriates or their descendants could make a claim that a property had been seized illegally and demand its return, but Polish officials argued this was causing uncertainty over property ownership.

In 2015 Poland's Constitutional Tribunal ruled there should be specific deadlines after which administrative decisions over property titles could no longer be challenged. Changes to the law were adopted by the Polish parliament earlier this week.

Related: WHO continues to call for suspension of third dose in Covid-19 vaccination campaign

The bill sets a 30-year limit for restitution claims.

The issue of Jewish property rights in Poland is further complicated because, unlike other EU states, it has not created a fund to give compensation to people whose property was seized.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was deeply concerned that the Polish parliament had passed the bill, and urged Duda not to sign it into law.

Washington is one of Warsaw's most important allies, but relations between the two countries have been strained by the property issue, as well as other issues such as plans to introduce changes that the opposition says aim to silence a U.S.-owned news channel critical of the government.

Related: Russia tells BBC journalist to leave the country

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