President of Poland decided to sign a bill limiting the Jews’ acquisition of property.
The bill limits acquisition of the property Nazi occupiers captured in WW2 and post-war communists retained.
This move is likely to incite tensions between Poland and Israel.
Displaced Jews and their descendants could claim their ownership has been confiscated illegally and demand its return.
However, Polish authorities said the claims resulted in suspicion over Jews’ ownership.
Poland’s constitution tribunal ruled in 2015 a specific deadline for challenging ownership titles.
This week, the Parliament adopted new changes to the law.
This new law sets a 30-year deadline on ownership claims.
The problem of Jew property in Poland is more complex.
Unlike other EU countries, Poland has not created a fund to compensate people for property seizures.
Tensions with the United States
Antony Blinken, US secretary of state, said on Thursday, “Poland’s decision concerns Washington.”
He also urged Duda not to sign the bill into legislation.
Washington is Warsaw’s most important ally, but the ownership issues have strained bilateral relations between the two countries.
There are other issues, like the opposition’s plans to shut down a US-owned news channel critical of the Polish government.
On Saturday, the World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO) asked Poland to tackle the issue of property seized in WW2.
“Democracy & justice hits a new low in Poland, as President Duda signs this law,” Gideon Taylor, operations officer at the WJRO, stated.
“It makes it impossible for all Polish property ex-owners to retain property illegally seized during the Communist era,” he added.
Before the Second World War, Poland had been a home for many Jews and the world’s largest Jewish community.
However, the Nazis wiped it out, and Jewish former property owners and their descendants have been struggling for compensation.