Polish President Signs Bill to Limit World War II Property Claims

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has approved a law on Saturday that will limit future claims on property seized by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

Duda told Poland’s PAP news agency that he hoped the law would end an “era of legal chaos” and “reprivatization mafias.” He said he had analyzed the matter carefully and decided to sign the law to end legal uncertainty and fraud linked to properties whose ownership remains in doubt decades after their seizure.

Duda said the law does not distinguish between Jewish and non-Jewish claimants, rejecting criticisms that the law was directed specifically against Jews who survived the Holocaust.

Jewish expatriates or their descendants could make a claim that a property had been seized illegally and demand its return.

The new law has set a 30-year time limit on challenges to property confiscations. This would mean that pending proceedings involving Communist-era property confiscations would be discontinued and dismissed.

The new law ignited a diplomatic crisis between Israel’s new government and the nationalist conservative government in Poland. 

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid criticized the decision, ordering the country’s charge d’affaires in Warsaw to return on Saturday.

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