- Searching for Justice After the Holocaust: Fulfilling the Terezin Declaration and Immovable Property Restitution, by Michael J. Bazyler et al. 2019. Oxford University Press. Edition Language: English.
The Holocaust Industry is After Poland Big Time! Communal and Heirless Property “Issues”
The authors repeat the canned meme that, whereas 90% of Polish gentiles survived, 90% of Poland’s Jews perished (p. 311, 314, 315, 349), which is now assumed to give Jews special rights, and which disregards the fact that most of the world’s Jews were untouched by the Holocaust. And, in contrast to those who say that the Terezin Declaration is “no big deal”, the authors keep highlighting it, even pointing out that, according to Terezin, “heirless property from victims of the Holocaust should not revert to the state…” (p. 314).
DELEGITIMIZING POLAND’S 1946 HEIRLESS PROPERTY SUCCESSION LAW
The ownership of heirless properties in post-WWII Poland, far from being some kind of loose end, was actually settled decades ago. Bazyler et al. write, “Currently, Polish law does not provide for the special treatment of heirless property from the Holocaust and World War II. In fact, according to the 8 March 1946 Decree Regarding Post-German and Deserted Properties (Which superceded an 8 May 1945 Law on Abandoned and Derelict Property)(“1946 Decree Regarding Post-German and Deserted Properties”) property not claimed by private owners within the limitation period (usually 10 years) became property of the Polish state.” (p. 352; See also p. 311).
The authors add that, “We are not aware of how many properties were returned during the 10-year period set out in the 1946 Decree Regarding Post-German and Deserted Properties or, of the properties returned, what percentage was returned to the Polish Jews.” (p. 326).
INVENTING SPECIAL RIGHTS FOR JEWS 75 YEARS AFTER THE FACT
The authors realize that the attempt, to create special EX POST FACTO laws for Jews, flies in the face of not only Poland’s 1946 law, but also the heirless-property laws of all the other European nations. The write, “Heirless property restitution remains the future’s challenge. The Study found that the level of compliance has been lowest overall for heirless property restitution. A serious obstacle is that, under the testamentary regimes of most European countries, both Western and Eastern, heirless property reverts to the state. It is axiomatic that ordinary laws apply to ordinary events. But the Holocaust was an extraordinary event. It makes little sense to apply ordinary testamentary laws to situations where so much heirless property suddenly came into existence because of the mass murder of millions of people. Principles of equity and justice grounded in ancient Roman law underscore that applying ordinary heirless property legislation to the situation of Holocaust restitution creates an injustice. Roman law principles of unjust enrichment should apply not only to individuals but also to the state, meaning that a wrongdoer should not profit from his wrongs. The Terezin Declaration recognized this principle and the extraordinary situation by declaring that heirless property should be allocated for the benefit of needy Holocaust survivors, commemoration of destroyed Jewish communities, and Holocaust education.” (pp. 484-485).
The authors conveniently forget that it was because of German acts, and not Polish acts, that there was so much Jewish heirless and unused communal property! So who, if anybody, is engaged in “unjust enrichment”?
In addition to all this, Bazyler et al, following post-Stalinist Jan T. Gross, now try to delegitimize the 1946 law by repeating the insinuation that Holocaust surviving Jews were afraid to reclaim their property after the war, as if this was the norm! (p. 311, 325).
DELEGITIMIZING POLAND’S 1960 CLAIMS SETTLEMENT WITH THE U. S.
The authors equivocate as they attempt to belittle the 1960 U.S.-Poland Bilateral Agreement, “Thus, many of the Polish survivors of the Holocaust and World War II who later became U. S. citizens would have been excluded, if at the time of the taking of the property they were not U. S. citizens. However, everything depended on the circumstances of each expropriation and the interpretation made by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission (“FCSC”) which determined the claims.” (p. 320).
Published with the author’s permission.
The image: „Searching for Justice After the Holocaust: Fulfilling the Terezin Declaration and Immovable Property Restitution” by Michael J. Bazyler et al. 2019. Oxford University Press – part of the cover. Photo source: Oxford University Press / selected by wg.pco