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Report: Poland Only EU Country Without Law Returning Jewish Property

WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — A think tank that monitors Holocaust restitution issues reported that Poland is the only European Union nation that does not comply with an international understanding allowing for the return of Jewish property seized during World War II.

The report by the European Shoah Legacy Institute notes that the countries of Western Europe developed legislation after the war that regulated the return of Jewish property. However, Poland and Bosnia-Herzegovina “stand alone as the only countries that have failed to establish a comprehensive private property restitution regime for property taken either during the Holocaust or Communist eras.”

American Jews and non-Jews of former Polish citizenship, for example, have long complained that Poland’s restitution system is “especially cumbersome, challenging, time consuming and expensive for claimants outside of Poland,” as the U.S. State Department’s special envoy for Holocaust issues explained in 2015.

The study, said to be the most comprehensive ever of immovable property restitution, found that most Western European states have complied or substantially complied with the principles of the Terezin Declaration, the 2009 agreement by 60 countries that pledged to create laws that would help return plundered assets to Jewish victims and their heirs.

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