On February 23rd, the city of Warsaw put into effect the December 2016 law that gives the original owners six months to reclaim their property that was seized by the Communists, starting from when the properties go live online. After the six months, the properties will be transferred to the city.
This is a chance for Holocaust survivors and their heirs to come and reclaim property that was once theirs, first taken by the Nazis and then under control of Communism until 1989. However, the chair of operations of the World Jewish Restitution Organization says that the six months is unfair. Majority of the people who once lived in these dwellings do not live in Poland, not to mention the advanced age of these persons.
“It is unfair for claimants – particularly those who now live outside of Poland – to lose this last opportunity to reconnect with their past because of the administrative complexity of this law,” said Taylor, the organization’s chair of operations.
I find myself agreeing with Taylor that the deadline is too short, yet the law is a little too late. If the owners of these properties survived the war, they have most likely passed away since then and any descendants will need longer than six months to provide proper documentation to the city of Warsaw.
The law seems like a last-ditch effort to appease groups such as the World Jewish Restitution Organization and to combat any comments that government is anti-semitic. I will be surprised if any families of survivors are able to reclaim property under this law in the six month time sp
72 years later. A little too late.
The Times of Israel, “Warsaw Lists Properties that pre-WWII owners can reclaim” February 23, 2017
Takes place in Warsaw, Poland