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Politics

Rubio to State Department: Push Poland to Do Right by Victims of Nazis, Communists

August 7, 2019 - 6:30am
Marco Rubio
Marco Rubio

Senate Foreign Relations Committeeman Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is calling on the U.S. State Department to support Poland to do more for those who lost their property to the Nazis and the communist regime that took over after World War II. 

Rubio paired up with U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., to send a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the matter, rounding up 86 other senators to sign as well.

“The United States and Poland have a strong relationship dating back to the American Revolutionary War that continues today through our NATO partnership. Our alliance is not only based on shared interests, but also the deep affinity between our peoples, who aspire to common ideals. One of those ideals, respect for private property rights, is foundational to the success of democracies,” the senators wrote.  “That is why we were heartened by your public statement in Warsaw in February calling on Poland to take appropriate steps to restitute private property belonging to Holocaust victims, their families and others from whom it was confiscated during the Communist era. Prime Minister Morawiecki's response to your comments, in which he said that Poland has ‘resolved’ this issue, was deeply troubling. As you know, the issue has not been resolved~ nor will it go away. 

“Now is the time, while the last Holocaust survivors are still alive, to back up our words with meaningful action. We encourage you to pursue bold initiatives to help Poland to resolve this issue as quickly as possible,” the senators added. “Poland suffered greatly during the Second World War, and its Jewish population was singled out by the Nazis for extermination. According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, approximately 3 million Jews - 90 percent of Poland's prewar Jewish population -were murdered by the Nazis. An estimated 1.9 million non-Jewish Polish civilians were killed by the Nazis as well. It was the Nazi regime and its allies and collaborators - not Poland- that systematically confiscated Jewish property during the Second World War.  After the war, the Communist regime in Poland nationalized property owned by Jews and nonJews. In the decades since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Jewish Holocaust survivors of Polish origin and their families as well as others have found it nearly impossible to reclaim or seek compensation for the property that was nationalized by the Polish Communist regime. In fact, Poland is the only country in the European Union that has not passed a comprehensive law for the restitution of or compensation for private property, despite in 2009, endorsing the Terezin Declaration on Holocaust Era Assets along with the United States and 45 other nations which among other things encouraged states to pass national legislation that facilitates restitution ‘in a fair, comprehensive and nondiscriminatory manner.'" 

Rubio and Baldwin have worked on the issue before. They teamed up with U.S. Reps. Chris Smith, R-NJ,  and U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley, D-NY, to bring back the “Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today (JUST) Act” out in 2016 and it was passed in 2016.  The sponsors insisted the bill  “will improve efforts to assist Holocaust survivors and the families of Holocaust victims by requiring the State Department to report on the progress of certain European countries on the return of (or restitution for), wrongfully confiscated or transferred Holocaust-era assets.” 

The legislation continued efforts from the Terezin Declaration on Holocaust Era Assets and Related Issues of 2009 which “affirms that the protection of property rights is an essential component of a democratic society based on the rule of law and recognizes the importance of restituting or compensating Holocaust-related confiscations made during the Holocaust-era between 1933-45“ and had the State Department report on how Central and Eastern European counties are complying with those efforts. 

Rubio’s and Baldwin’s letter garnered support this week.  

“The World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) welcomes the resounding call by 88 senators – led by Senators Baldwin and Rubio -- for Poland to restitute property to Holocaust victims and their families,” said Gideon Taylor, the chair of operations of the WJRO, on Monday. “Time is of the essence. With fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors alive today, Poland must urgently address this historic wrong.”

“This letter demonstrates that the United States Congress has not forgotten about Holocaust survivors and remains steadfast in pursuing justice for them,” said Eric Gallagher, WJRO’s representative in Washington. “Senators Baldwin and Rubio are tireless champions for the rights of survivors and we cannot thank them enough for their bold leadership.”

“I lost my entire family in the Holocaust and I survived the Warsaw ghetto. I still have the deeds to two properties in Warsaw. Poland should be more responsive to thousands of Holocaust survivors who are seeking justice for property that was stolen from them,” said Norman Trysk-Frajman, an 89 year old Holocaust survivor living in Boynton Beach. “I want to personally thank Senators Tammy Baldwin and Marco Rubio, and all the other senators for making property restitution in Poland a priority.”

Comments

Sorry, but Poles don't owe the Jews any money as they are also victims of the Nazis and Soviets. That concept is similar to paying restitution for slavery to black people in the U.S.

Where does it stop? The Holy Roman Empire conquered the Jewish Nation along with many others. There are churches in Italy filled with Gold Decorations that were made with Gold taken from the Jews, many other sites in Italy were embellished with trophies brought back from their conquests. Should we have all those returned? Sure it's unfair that fortunes were lost and gained in times of war and political turmoil. But how many generations do we go back? Every civilization has at one point or another been enslaved by other civilizations. So do we go back 2,000 years? 1,000 years? 500 years? 100 years? 50 years?

Imagine being invaded by not one, but two superpowers (Nazis and Soviets), losing 25% of your entire countries’ population, your cities destroyed and razed to the ground and then after the world being occupied by the Soviets and then being told that you, the victim, have to owe Jews money.

And what about all the property owned by Poles when Poland's borders were moved westward, my family owned land around Lwow (now in Ukraine), who will compensate us; and what of the Germans forced to move westward from the lands given to Poland? And while on the subject will the U.S. give back all the Indian lands that the U.S. took after breaking treaties with the tribes. Lets not forget that that the palestinians lost land in 1949 to the newly created state of Isreal. If we speak of one instance all instances must be addressed.

Jewish World Restitution Fund should publish an account of the distribution of reparations they already got from sources world wide since 1945.

Absolutely. And American Senators should send a lett to Germany for reparations towards Poles regarding WW2.

The article incorrectly states that: An estimated 1.9 million non-Jewish Polish civilians were killed by the Nazis as well. The correct version is: An estimated 3 million non-Jewish Polish citizens were killed by the Germans as well.

People that inherited property in Poland claim it back and if they successfully prove their claims they get it back - every day - through courts. And no one is ever asked about their religion or nationality. This is similar to the probate or land courts in USA. However why Jewish organization in New York are claiming rights to heir-less property left by Polish citizens murdered by Germans in Poland? Imagine that a Catholic of Polish origin dies without heirs - killed by mobsters in Chicago. Would the Vatican or any Polish organization have grounds to claim his property on the grounds that he was a Catholic or Polish? Nonsense. Heir-less property (also known as abandoned property) stays in the country where it was accumulated - this is the legal norm world wide, including USA.

I'm a Jew and Poles and Poland should pay for the Nazis and Soviet crimes. We can't execute the repatriation from Germany or Russia so Poland should pay because they are weak and helpless. Otherwise we shall not send them any weapon or soldiers. That's it Polish people - no one respects weak people!

If Poland, the VICTIM should pay for the crimes of its OPPRESSORS, then its only logical that Israel and America pay Poland. Jews owe Poles for risking their lives to save them during WW2, and Americans owe Poles for letting them rot to the Soviets. You have quite a deluded way of thinking, and you seriously dare wonder why many perceive Jews as greedy? Why should Poland/Poles pay for the crimes committed by its aggressors? Take your concerns to Germany and Russia, not Poland, the victim. Shame on you for even thinking of something so stupid.

You’re a vile pos for even thinking like that.

I am a Polish-American and I cant assure you that you won’t get a cent and there are several reasons for that: 1. Poles did not receive a single Euro for its 6 mln killed and total distraction of Poland, including Warsaw that was destroyed in 90 percent by Germans. 2. Poles were not compensated by the USSR for property taken by Soviets after WWII. 3. Poland does not have resources to pay Jews after over 50 years of communism and there is still some level of poverty among some Poles Also, it has been over 70 years after the war. Just give Poland a break since they suffered so much during WWII and over 50 years of communism

Adolph Rodham Hitlary opposes giving help to the victims of communists and nazis.

The Republican party should stay the hell out of other countries' business! Republicans have more than enough problems they've created here to tend to - not the least of which are the unending White House corruption and run amok gun violence.

The letter was signed by both Democrats and Republicans. Stop falling under the illusion that there are two parties, both are controlled by AIPAC/Israel.

Good job Rubio, the Poles are Europe's best hope in restoring Anglo-Europe and purging the hordes invading from Africa and the Mid East.

How is this exactly a “good job”? This only infuriates Poles and Poland and proves to the world that Rubio and the rest of American Senators are puppets to Israel/AIPAC. Poland/Poles do not owe anyone as much a dime, they are the ones who deserve reparations from Germany, Russia and America.

Yes. It is long overdue.

What is long overdue, exactly? Poles do not owe Jews a damn dime in anything.

It's got nothing to do with race, idiot. It's got to do with medieval cultures having no place (except for democrats that want to destroy capitalism at any cost) in a modern capitalist society.

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