- The Senate and House bills S.447 and H.R. 1226 are deeply flawed and driven by the erroneous logic rooted in falsification of history. Poland must not be held responsible for the genocide and property expropriations conducted by her German and Soviet occupiers and the political, social and economic ramifications of the Yalta Agreement reached by the United States, Great Britain and Soviet Union in 1945. Unlike: France, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Slovakia, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Lithuania, and others, Poland did not cooperate with Germany during WW II. Inclusion of Poland, the country which paid the highest price for her WW2 opposition to Germany, in the same category as the other collaborating states, falsifies history
- Poland should not pay any lump-sum compensation to private, self-appointed organizations – created under the pretext of compensating the Holocaust victims – professing to be successors of all the pre-WW2, Jewish citizenry of Poland. The American and Israeli organizations of 2018 are not successors in title to the heirless and intestate Jewish citizens of Poland who perished under German occupation between 1939 and 1945. Any and all assets left heirless and intestate in any country of the modern world escheat to such states. Poland, or any other country, cannot be made an exception to this universally accepted legal principle. The Republic of Poland is the only entity legally entitled to the successive ownership of any assets left by her Jewish pre-WW2 citizens.
- The premise behind the bills S. 447 and H.R.1226 is not implementation of existing law but creation of a completely new legal authority and establishment of a political enforcement mechanism in the US to achieve the goals specified in the already publicized compensation schemes. Such demands are at present – from the point of view of the American, international and Polish law – nothing but illegitimate extortion attempts. Their proponents, unable to show that their compensation demands are legitimate and meet the necessary legal qualifications present under the existing set of laws have turned to the Congress of the United States trying to change the existing legal standard, which they do not like. The S.447 and H.R. 1226 are designed to elevate their extralegal scheme to the appearance of a respectable and enforceable legal concept.
- The American Holocaust organizations make unfounded and legally absurd demands of lump-sum compensation for tens of billions of dollars without any evidence of title and without naming any people or any real properties or assets. It would be morally and legally wrong and politically ill-advised for the United States Congress to support extralegal agendas and payment schemes benefiting such private groups.
- The title of the bill “Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act of 2017” is false and misleading. There are no “uncompensated survivors”. The claims have been paid – in some cases, multiple times.
- a) Germany has paid since 1949 the equivalent of over 100 billion dollars to individuals, Jewish organizations and the State of Israel. The German payments have covered all of the Jewish property seized and expropriated by Germany during WW2.
- b) Between 1948 and 1971 Poland concluded property restitution and compensation treaties with the United States, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Greece, Holland, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. All claims for property and assets located in Poland by the citizens of these countries have been since settled in full and discharged. According to the agreement, all claims of US citizens and their heirs are now responsibility of the United States government. The House of Representatives potential support for the new, extralegal claims against Poland would substantially violate the US-Polish treaty and the indemnification agreement signed between the US and Poland on July 16, 1960.
- c) Since 1989, all legitimate property claims may be freely pursued in Poland by judicial and administrative means and venues. Tens of thousands of people with legitimate title claims – regardless of their ethnic background – have recovered ownership and possession of their properties in Poland.
- d) A 1997 Polish legislation enabled return – or payment of compensation – to Jewish organizations in Poland of over 2,500 communal properties, including synagogues, cemeteries and cultural centers
Edward Wojciech Jeśman
President & National Director
Polish American Congress
of Southeren California