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UK foreign minister wants 'full resolution' on Holocaust restitution

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 11.04.2014 12:55
The UK's foreign minister William Hague has joined other British MPs in a bid to push Poland to settle outstanding restitution claims of Holocaust survivors and their heirs.

William Hague. Photo: wikipedia

The claims concern property that was appropriated either by the Nazi German occupiers during World War II, or by the communist regime that was installed in Poland after the war.

“We have a strong bilateral relationship with Poland,” Hague has affirmed.

“A proper and full resolution of these claims would serve to underline their national determination to play a leading role in Europe.”

Hague outlined his stance in a letter to Baroness Deech, who approached the minister on behalf of a group of British MPs and members of the House of Lords.

In an interview with UK's Jewish Chronicle, Deech said “we are looking for him to encourage action during the UK chairmanship of the International Holocaust Alliance.”

UK lawmakers wrote a letter to Prime Minister Donald Tusk in February pressing Poland to act.

However, Poland's ambassador in the UK Witold Sobkow then stressed in an open letter to The Times that “I can assure you that the Polish government has been taking all measures to enable rightful owners to reclaim their properties.”

“Laws are in place and have been successfully applied for more than two decades,” he underlined.

“As of the end of January 2014 the Polish state paid almost 1 billion compensation for property thus lost.”

Although Poland has being paying compensation since the collapse of communism, President Bronislaw Komorowski has argued that a more streamlined bill needs to be passed.

Prime Minister Tusk called off such as measure in 2011, owing to the “global financial crisis.”

President Komorowski has said that “the lack of a bill on restitution is a disgrace for Poland.

“If such a law is passed, I will not hesitate to sign it,” he said.

Komorowski has underlined that the bill is pertinent to former or current Polish citizens of all religious denominations.

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, reform has also being campaigned for by the Polish Landowners' Association, with Poland's nobility losing most of its property during the Communist era. (nh)

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