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Why no reprivatisation in Poland? Holocaust-era property ownership.


Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448
4 Mar 2015  #1
Poland is repeatedly criticised for not carrying out a full-scale reprivatisation programme. Here is one such criticism:
"Poland is the only major country in Eastern Europe that has not passed legislation to address the loss of Holocaust-era property. Hundreds of thousands of Jewish homes were simply taken and no compensation ever paid."

There have been attempts but a reprivatisation law passed by the Sejm was vetoed by ex-commie president Kwaśniewski. The law did not single out the ethnicity of former owners but pertained to everyone whose property had been illegally confiscated by the PRL regime..
kpc21 1 | 763
5 Mar 2015  #2
"Poland is the only major country in Eastern Europe that has not passed legislation to address the loss of Holocaust-era property."

If we are talking about the Holocaust - by which country were these homes taken? Turn to Germany, not Poland.
Lyzko 22 | 6,518
5 Mar 2015  #3
What a minefield we've walked into, friends! To be sure, the "repatriation" so to speak of the property originally belonging to Polish Christians was buried for years under a mountain of bureaucratic red tape during Communism, the question of Polish-Jewish property remains even stickier, being that Jews were technically not even legally considered Polish citizens.

Their status therefore compounded the problem of "returning" to people that which might in theory have never belonged to them in the first place, at least in the eyes of the that-time resp. pre-War Polish government:-)
TheOther 5 | 3,688
5 Mar 2015  #4
by which country were these homes taken?

After the war? Guess...
Lyzko 22 | 6,518
5 Mar 2015  #5
Russia was an occupier and so they wanted first dibs. Germany too was an occupier and so couldn't help gut get into the act......

Little Poland was sort of left out in the cold (no pun intended), roughly until around the end of the Gomułka Era.
TheOther 5 | 3,688
5 Mar 2015  #6
Well, the Soviets helped themselves during and after the war, of course, but they also made sure that 'little Poland' got a good chunk of German territory after the owners had been forcefully expelled... . Poland shouldn't hide behind her Soviet occupiers and just accept that this particular era is part of Polish history.

I believe that the Polish government is so hesitant to return former Jewish property because they would run the risk that the descendants of the expelled Germans would demand their old houses back as well. It's all stupid politics.
jon357 63 | 14,122
5 Mar 2015  #7
The law distinguishes between property taken illegally during the occupation, and property taken legally afterwards. Some of the former has been returned and less of the latter.

One problem is that the scale of the nationalisations would mean a dramatic upheaval and leave people suddenly not owning the home they've lived in for years.
national
5 Mar 2015  #8
Hundreds of thousands of Jewish homes were simply taken and no compensation ever paid."

Compensation paid to who exactly?Aren't the owners dead?Are you a holocaust denier?

I believe that the Polish government is so hesitant to return former Jewish property

What do you meanJewish property?Weren't they "our fellow LOL Poles" we turned our back on when the Germans decided to exterminate them like a pest?It's funny how, when the topic changes to property "our fellow Poles" suddenly becoming a different nation (which they were indeed) THE JEWS.
UncleGoodAdvice 1 | 28
5 Mar 2015  #9
the law doesn't recognize Jewish, Catholics or Muslims. The law is the law and all the properties left by killed Polish Jewish became property of Polish state just like Polish Catholics' properties who were killed during the 2WW and there was no known inheritors have been nationalized. That law works even in current times. If you can prove that you are inheritor after for example Polish Jewish family killed during the war Polish state give you back the property or pay the re-compensation.

Can you imagine a situation when lets say Catholic family die in Israel and there is no inheritors and some Catholic organisation demand their property?

The Germans abandoned their properties in Poland. After we got back western part of out territory. The Germans were allowed to stay and keep their property they had to only take Polish citizenship. Some of them stayed in Poland, mostly near to Opole town where you can find road signs written in both, German and Polish language
Marsupial - | 888
6 Mar 2015  #10
What a joke...Jews living in Poland were poles so if you are now a Jew, some different nationality I think you should get zilch. Germans who stayed became Polish ok, Germans who left, zilch. If you are a Jew and you live in Poland and you are Polish and someone took your property sure. Anyone else is just a parasitic foreigner.
TheOther 5 | 3,688
6 Mar 2015  #11
What do you meanJewish property?

I was referring to this:

the question of Polish-Jewish property remains even stickier, being that Jews were technically not even legally considered Polish citizens.

.
.

The Germans abandoned their properties in Poland.

Are you for real? Yes, many fled from the Red Army, but millions of others were "asked" by Polish and Soviet troops to get the f*uck out. And when they did, many of them were robbed of their valuable possessions including family photos and documents.

After we got back western part of out territory.

So you're one of those nut jobs who claim that Berlin is actually Polish?

The Germans were allowed to stay and keep their property they had to only take Polish citizenship.

Until the early 1950's when many of the remaining Germans were finally expelled. Polish citizens or not.
UncleGoodAdvice 1 | 28
6 Mar 2015  #12
What a joke...jews living in poland were poles so if you are now a jew, some different nationality I think you should get zilch. Germans who stayed became polish ok, germans who left, zilch. If you are a jew and you live in poland and you are polish and someone took your property sure. Anyone else is just a parasitic fireigner.

It doesn't matter if there were Polish, Jewish, Martians or Goblins, the property was on Polish territory so it became nationalized by Polish state, as there was no known inheritors. Jewish people, are an ethnoreligious group and now we have situation where some Jewish organization demand property which never belonged to any religious organization. Catholic people's houses don't belong to The Catholic Church!
Marsupial - | 888
6 Mar 2015  #13
They should be dealt with swiftly and told to get lost. Further more they should pay money to poland for infesting it in the first place.
UncleGoodAdvice 1 | 28
6 Mar 2015  #14
After we got back western part of out territory.
So you're one of those nut jobs who claim that Berlin is actually Polish?

That land belonged to Poland in the past, so it's logically correct to say that we got back our land. isn't it?

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Ozi Dan 26 | 569
6 Mar 2015  #15
There have been attempts but a reprivatisation law passed by the Sejm was vetoed by ex-commie president Kwaśniewski. The law did not single out the ethnicity of former owners but pertained to everyone whose property had been illegally confiscated by the PRL regime..

It was probably vetoed by virtue of the fact that when the question was asked as to how all this was to be paid for and managed, no one could come up with an answer. These grandiose schemes all fall flat when it's realised just how much it will cost, the effort involved in running it, and the administration required to ensure that it progresses.

To my mind, why should the current generation of Poles be responsible (i.e through tax or a levy) for the actions of the Polish Communist Government? Costs aside, how would the Government propose to deal with proof of ownership of a claimant? If it's 'compensation' in terms of return of real property, what is to happen to the person who has to return it if they were a bona fide purchaser for value? What if the real property was a derelict building when confiscated then built up over the years to a piece of real estate worth in the millions and generating income? What if the owners are foreign (unless Poland prevents this).

The intent is noble and just, but it is impossible to carry out.

As an aside, is the draft of such law available online? It would be interesting to have a look at how they intended to deal with it.

Yes, many fled from the Red Army, but millions of others were "asked" by Polish and Soviet troops to get the f*uck out. And when they did, many of them were robbed of their valuable possessions including family photos and documents.

Oh please, all of this happened 70 years ago mate - get over it ;). It's just victor's justice and the spoils of war. Here's a tissue champ.
UncleGoodAdvice 1 | 28
6 Mar 2015  #16
Let Germans pay for the destroying Warsaw during the 2WW and many other Polish cities when they were bombing civil targets and shooting kcivilians before we start talking about any re-compensation for Germans

We may also focus on crime committed against Indigenous Australians because I think "We are very sorry" it's not enough.

And Israel should pay re-compensations to Palestinians for bombing civil targets
cms 9 | 1,272
6 Mar 2015  #17
Germany did pay heavy reparations to Poland - extensive machinery and raw materials were given in exchange plus some cash. In the 50s the Polish commie govt let the East Germans off but the West Germans did pay some more in trhe 70s.
UncleGoodAdvice 1 | 28
6 Mar 2015  #18
43 billion dollars. estimated damage costs only for Warsaw

Germany did pay heavy reparations to Poland - extensive machinery and raw materials were given in exchange plus some cash. In the 50s the Polish commie govt let the East Germans off but the West Germans did pay some more in trhe 70s.

Stupid Germans, they lost their land, they lost they homes and they decided paid heavy reparations to Poland. It must be love

Thank you
jon357 63 | 14,122
6 Mar 2015  #19
The intent is noble and just, but it is impossible to carry out.

Pretty well. It would involve stress and hardship for thousands and be a major upheaval.

To my mind, why should the current generation of Poles be responsible (i.e through tax or a levy) for the actions of the Polish Communist Government?

The nationality of property owners (whether current or former) is an irrelevance. One big issue is that properties were confiscated post-war under a law which had very strict criteria. In many cases those criteria were not followed and if that can be proven, the original owners or their heirs can occaionally be successful in their claim.

Sooner or later a line has to be drawn, A religious body recently tried to claim for some land in Warsaw that was nationalised entirely legally long before the war.
national
6 Mar 2015  #20
Germany did pay heavy reparations to Poland - extensive machinery and raw materials were given in exchange plus some cash.

Nonsense.
TheOther 5 | 3,688
6 Mar 2015  #21
Oh please, all of this happened 70 years ago mate - get over it

I wouldn't even mention it, but certain people here on PF come up with this sh*it over and over and over again, you know...

It's just victor's justice and the spoils of war.

Yes

Here's a tissue champ.

I will remind you next time you will whinge about the annexation of Poland during the partitions, mate... :)

That land belonged to Poland in the past, so it's logically correct to say that we got back our land. isn't it?

Commie propaganda BS.
Harry
6 Mar 2015  #22
The Germans were allowed to stay and keep their property they had to only take Polish citizenship.

In a lot of places, for example the area I lived for a year and where my Mrs is from, the choice was leave or be buried.

the law doesn't recognize Jewish, Catholics or Muslims.

Actually, Polish law does recognise Catholics: that is why Catholics who marry in their church are legally married but persons of any other who marry in their church/temple/synagogue/mosque/etc are not legally married.
Wordofmouth
6 Mar 2015  #23
There are also many Polish families who lost real estate after WW2, these families are unable to claim what is rightfully their property. In many cases if you are of Jewish descent there is a higher possibility of your claim being successful purely on the basis of the local Gminalaw courts not wanting to be seen as anti semetic
jon357 63 | 14,122
6 Mar 2015  #24
Some are able to. As explained earlier it depends on the basis the property was taken on. If it was nationalised post-war, the previous owners are no more able to claim it back than in any other country. If it was taken illegally during the occupation, there is a higher possibility, though this does not always work.
Lyzko 22 | 6,518
7 Mar 2015  #25
As far as I can recall reading, each województwo/Wojewodschaft in pre-War Poland had its own particular restrictions regarding Jewish "rights", specific to that region! Similar to many European countries, Jews had been invited in solely at the behest of individual nobles, only to be summarily thrown out (again) at the whim of those same nobles.

This left Jews between a rock and a hard place, so to speak! Those who converted to Catholicism and joined the Church, would thus be granted Polish citizenship, making them one step closer to being bona fide property owners:-) This seldom occurred, and so, the matter became compounded, sometimes long, long after the Second World War, when, as late as the new Millenium, former Polish Jewish Holocaust survivors demanded redress for "stolen" properties in Poland. The government though, has been often somewhat recalcitrant to even acknowledge such claims as valid.

The experience with (re-)privatization vs. re-patriation vis-à-vis the "return" of purloined goods/property wrested from Jewish hands before 1945 in Germany, for instance, was that Jews had long since become citizens until roughly 1938 and the advent of the Nuremberg Laws, thereby robbing all German Jews of any citizenship rights whatsoever!

After the War, Jews in Poland continued to be the victims of isolated pogroms, e.g. Kielce and Jedwabne among them. This was not the case in Germany, Werwolf-bands roaming the occupied, impoverished German countryside notwithstanding. Acts of anti-Jewish violence were few and far between.

Property belonging to Polish gentiles after the War and taken by Russia or Germany was returned, so long as restitution was considered appropriate.

Jews continue to try and wrest funds owed them as part of their "Wiedergutmachung" or restitution claims from the the German and Austrian governments, yet to little avail.
jon357 63 | 14,122
7 Mar 2015  #26
so long as restitution was considered appropriate.

It all depends on the legal basis (or lack thereof) under which property was confiscated. An example is the ongoing saga about the late General Jaruzelski's house. It was nationalised under a legal clause that allowed abandoned properties to be nationalised for industrial use. Although it arguably had been abandoned (the owner was in New York) it was never used for industry - only for housing army officers. Hence the claim at the moment.
Lyzko 22 | 6,518
7 Mar 2015  #27
Only the difference here is, of course, Jaruzelski, a Polish gentile, was charged with war crimes. With what "crimes" were the Polish Jews en masse charged, save for being Jews?
jon357 63 | 14,122
7 Mar 2015  #28
Jaruzelski, a Polish gentile

I don't think that makes any legal difference to the property issue. That is very much a separate issue. He received the house (or use of it) as an officer, before the Gdańsk shootings. There are many such property issues - buildings and land that were taken under the law. In this case the issue is whether or not the law was applied correctly.

With what "crimes" were the Polish Jews en masse charged, save for being Jews?

Again, crime isn't the issue, it's the basis on which a property was seized. If the property was seized by the Nazi occupiers (whether the owner was a Jewish Pole or a non-Jewish Pole) it was an illegal seizure and if proof of ownership can be established there's a chance of return. If it was seized after the war by a legal instrument, (whether the owner was a Jewish Pole or non-Jewish Pole) there is much less of a chance.

If the heirs by the way are not citizens, the whole issue is complicated further. In Warsaw there are still empty and derelict houses, some of them (the ones in my area, Stare Młociny, anyway) obviously the homes of very rich people.
Lyzko 22 | 6,518
7 Mar 2015  #29
Yet, Jon, in the latter case you mentioned, now come on here! Who's more likely to have their rightful property returned expeditiously, the Jew or the gentile?

Post-War rules of government were obviously different from wartime. However, the question remains as to who is legally entitled to possess in the first place? The answer anywhere on earth is "a citizen" (presumably without a criminal record).

Fact is, fella, we're talkin' black market! Buy off some shyster and anything's possible:-)
f stop 25 | 2,513
7 Mar 2015  #30
The answer anywhere on earth is "a citizen" (presumably without a criminal record).

I don't think this is true, as foreign ownership of real estate is wide-spread across the world.


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