Poland's PM discusses property restitution with Jewish leaders

Authorities argue restitution is complicated since some 40% of city's infrastructure was destroyed in World War II.

February 28, 2007 14:24

Poland's prime minister met with leaders of the Jewish Claims Conference on Wednesday over prospects for the return or compensation for private property seized from Jews during World War II. The group is representing Jewish families and their heirs, whose property was seized first by the Nazis during World War II, and later held by the communists, who ruled Poland until 1989. Claims Conference executive vice president Gideon Taylor was meeting with Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski in hopes of reaching a solution to private property along the lines of a 1997 law, which ordered the restitution of Jewish communal property like prayer houses, synagogues or cemeteries. Authorities in Warsaw, where many claims have been made, argue that restitution is complicated because some 40 percent of the city's infrastructure was destroyed in World War II and replaced by new buildings. In 2001, President Aleksander Kwasniewski vetoed a restitution bill for private property, arguing it violated the constitution and would be too costly for Poland's strained economy.

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