Senators to Pompeo: Urge Poland to compensate Holocaust victims

“Now is the time, while the last Holocaust survivors are still alive, to back up our words with meaningful action,” the letter states.

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August 6, 2019 15:07
1 minute read.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz attend a plenary

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz attend a plenary session at the Middle East summit in Warsaw, Poland, February 14, 2019. (photo credit: AGENCJA GAZETA/SLAWOMIR KAMINSKI VIA REUTERS)

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of US senators signed a letter Monday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, calling on him to urge Poland to take action “to secure compensation for, or the return of, property that was wrongfully seized by the Nazis and subsequently nationalized by the Communists.”

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin led the initiative. Eighty-eight senators signed the letter.

According to a statement from Baldwin’s office, the entire Senate Democratic Caucus has signed the letter.

“Respect for private property rights is foundational to the success of democracies,” the letter reads. “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.”

According to the letter, “[Polish] Prime Minister [Mateusz] 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,” the letter states. “We encourage you to pursue bold initiatives to help Poland to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.”

The senators note that 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 some 74 years after the end of World War II.

“As staunch supporters of the US-Poland relationship, we are writing to urge you to act boldly and with urgency to help Poland resolve this issue comprehensively, and in the context of strengthening the bilateral relationship between our countries,” the letter concludes.

Gideon Taylor, chair of operations at World Jewish Restitution Organization (WJRO), said in a joint statement with Baldwin and Rubio: “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.

“Time is of the essence,” he continued. “With fewer and fewer Holocaust survivors alive today, Poland must urgently address this historic wrong.”


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