Reclaiming Jewish Property in Krakow

Before World War II, the Karmel family ran a successful business in Krakow and owned a building on ul. Józefa. The family had been part of the Jewish community in the city since the 14th century. Like millions of others, they suffered the depredations of the Nazi invaders and then, when the war was over, the surviving members of the family left Poland for good. The building at ul. Józefa 1, like tens of thousands across the country, was simply abandoned. Now, almost 70 years later, New York Rabbi Joseph Karmel wants it back.

The building at ul. Józefa 1 claimed by Rabbi Karmel

Canadian filmmaker Eric Scott became involved with Rabbi Karmel’s story when he decided to shoot a documentary about the ongoing issue of restitution in Poland. Now seeking funding to complete his project, Scott is planning to bring his crew to Krakow and ask some searching questions.

“Restitution is a documentary about an unacknowledged crime on a massive scale. Twenty three years after the fall of Communism, Poland still refuses to do what it promised to do. The government of Poland will not pass a restitution law that would either return private property or compensate Jews and their heirs for assets seized during the Nazi occupation or under the Communist regime. Poland’s unwillingness to pass such a law puts the country squarely out of step with rest of Europe,” says Scott.

The cost of restitution

Restitution is one of the hottest of hot political potatoes in Poland. There is intense international pressure for the country to follow Germany, Lithuania, Hungary and Romania in framing a restitution law. The Polish government, however, estimates the value of former Jewish-owned property at 10 billion US dollars, and pleads that its current economic situation makes introducing such a law impossible.

Jehuda Evron, President of Holocaust Restitution Committee, disagrees: “I think this [figure] includes all Jewish properties. Approximately 80 percent of these properties have no claimants because the entire family was killed, and so there are no heirs to claim. I think that it is only 2 billion dollars. But there is no need for monetary compensation anyway – just that these buildings be returned to their owners. Seventy percent of these buildings are in the hands of national or local authorities – what they have to do is just give them back.”

Rabbi Joseph Karmel says he has been fighting for 23 years to reclaim his family’s property in Krakow
(Image: Les productions des quatre jeudis Inc.)

Regardless of the economic arguments, it is clear that transferring the ownership of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of property from Polish hands into those of non-Poles who are often perceived as ‘wealthy foreigners’ could be very unpopular. Rabbi Karmel has little sympathy: “I do understand that they can’t give away their country. On the other hand – these properties are ours. The ridiculous thing is that nobody denies that this property belongs to us – they just claim that the whole process takes time. Our lawyers tell us that the Polish courts are taking their time because, once they start giving back property, it will be a big problem for them. But that’s not my problem, this property belongs to us – we are only asking for it back.”

Broken promises

Jehuda Evron, whose organisation represents more than 3,000 Jewish claimants, shares Rabbi Karmel’s frustration at the pace of the process: “We don’t get any help from the Polish authorities. We have only promises from Polish prime ministers and foreign ministers that have not been kept. Unfortunately, instead of returning these buildings they keep selling them to Polish and foreign investors. Most of the cases are in Polish courts for more than ten years and, even if you win your case in court, it takes years to get the building back. I believe that only five to six percent of claimants have recovered their property.”

Rabbi Karmel’s case has been ongoing for considerably more than ten years. He told the Krakow Post: “In 1989, the chairman of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation received a letter from Solidarity leaders in Poland saying: ‘We have all the records of real estate from 1939. We are ready to reach out and let the real owners return to their properties.’ One of those owners was my family. We have been busy with the courts since then, filling in requests and providing documents. It’s amazing – the paperwork is all there: the government registration of land and property ownership, the names of those killed in the Holocaust, everything is there. It’s a procedure that takes about twenty minutes in a New York court, in Poland we’ve been dealing with this for twenty three years already.”

The Krakow Post asked city authorities for a statement regarding Rabbi Karmel’s claim to Józefa 1. With respect to the ownership of the property, a spokesperson for the Department of Information, Tourism and Promotion of the City said the building is: “owned by a common hold association (wspólnota mieszkaniowa). The Municipality of Krakow holds 48.30% of the ownership rights to the property.”

The statement continued: “The Department of Geodesy of the Municipality of Krakow has informed us that they have no information concerning a court case initiated 23 years ago, but it does have information concerning the claim of Joseph Karmel.

“The claim to declare invalid the ruling by means of which the property was taken over by the State Treasury was brought to the local government appeal court (Samorządowe Kolegium Odwoławcze) in Krakow in July 2008. The Court referred the claim to the Ministry of Infrastructure…

“On June 3, 2009, the Ministry of Infrastructure issued a decision refusing to initiate proceedings on the motion brought by Joseph Karmel… The Minister justified this decision by stating that, although the Ministry had repeatedly called upon the petitioner to demonstrate his legal interest to initiate administrative proceedings, he had failed to do so and, therefore, could not be declared a party to the case.”

Knocking on doors

Filmmaker Eric Scott believes that the Polish state has not merely failed to address the question of restitution, it is effectively covering up the seizure of Jewish property by past Polish governments – a position that will undoubtedly raise hackles. “Poland’s non-action is tantamount to disavowing Polish participation in the plundering of Jewish property during the Holocaust, continuing up to the end of Communist rule in 1989. More than two decades after the restoration of democracy in Poland, Polish Jewish survivors and their heirs are still seeking reparations for property that was taken from them either by Polish individuals or by the Polish State, but to no avail. As recently as February 2011, the government of Poland suspended work on legislation to this effect. My film will attempt to find out why.

“We will follow restitution claimants back to Poland. We’ll knock on the doors of their former homes and see who is living there now. We will film these conversations with the current occupants or owners. We will go to city hall, accompanied by US lawyers specializing in restitution issues, in an attempt to uncover the paper trail of the transfer of Jewish property to Polish ownership.

ul. Józefa 1

“We will include the point of view of ordinary Poles who feel threatened with displacement and hardship should restitution ever become a reality. Meeting with the highest representative of the Polish government willing to appear on camera, we will ask for an explanation of Poland’s official point of view, balancing the story with an entirely different perspective. Neither the issue, nor the claimants nor their descendants are willing to go away quietly.”

While Scott’s attempt to uncover Polish complicity in the theft of Jewish property is likely to result in many of the doors he knocks on being slammed in his face, there is no denying that the restitution question is not going away. Rabbi Karmel sees the issue as almost devoid of historical context: “I’m not coming to talk about the Holocaust. I’m not coming to ask anyone to ‘make good’ what happened. I’m simply saying: there’s property that’s mine, I would like to come back and reclaim it. I’d like to just walk in the door and say I’m home. What does that have to do with the Nazis? It has to do with the here and the now.”

200 thoughts on “Reclaiming Jewish Property in Krakow

  • November 18, 2012 at 2:12 pm
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    how sweet… welcome to the revival of Jewish culture in present-day Poland. :-))

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    • November 19, 2012 at 7:46 am
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      I also wanted to say that the Poles are trying to move on with their traumatic past and suffering during WW2, even though they would be entitled to put claims forward here and there. So should be the Jews, in particular the ones from abroad, who are now waking up, as Poland is an emerging economy.

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      • January 15, 2013 at 12:51 pm
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        Post WW2 the Polish people committed some disgusting atrocities against the Jewish people who tried to return to their homes. This is well documented. These people were forced to move on once more. Your ancestors should bow their heads in shame. Disgusting.
        You people may deny this all you like, but it is pure fact. About time you people owned up this these heinous crimes.

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        • April 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm
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          I came across this today, I know this is a reply to an ancient post but this bugs me…
          There were plenty of Polish people who helped Jews during the war and after. Yes some Polish people were hostile to Jews returning to their old houses, and to put it into context.
          There were cities that where almost completely demolished by the retreating German army. Warsaw for example was almost completely destroyed after the uprising. The advancing soviet army laid waste to German cities in return, however after the war the polish borders were moved to the west and the Germans were kicked out of the parts that became Poland. The polish living the who now lived outside of Poland where moved to these regions. This all resulted in a massive housing problem amongst others.
          This resulted in hostility towards people in general who came back to their old houses… it’s not right but it’s understandable.
          Furthermore Piotrus never denied any wrongdoings by Polish people towards Jewish people… He only said that everyone should take their losses and move on…;

          Polish people themselves hardly got any restitution after the war and as a thank you for helping the allies the country was basically given to Stalin who placed a puppet government there, this lasted pretty much till the Berlin Wall fell…. How about a few hundred billions of restitution for the damage from the war and the economic damage resulting from the Russian occupation?

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          • April 4, 2014 at 2:37 pm
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            Hurray. Finally a voice of reason and understanding.

          • July 25, 2014 at 4:56 am
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            you are correct

          • March 18, 2016 at 7:32 pm
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            The Poles were Hitler’s “willing executioners.”Read the book by the same names by Daniel Goldhagen. Most did nothing. They walked around the ghetto, watched it burn, and then watched their neighbors sealed into trains and taken to concentration camps. They smelled the burning flesh and accepted that the Jews had brought it on themselves. Anti-Semitism was ingrained in their history. They were not sorry to see the Jewish population of Poland disappear. You would think that their collective consciousness would have made them less anti-Semitic, but it didn’t. When the Jews returned, looking for relatives and wanting to reclaim their homes and businesses, they were slaughtered. If the Poles want restitution, they should lobby for it, but what they did to the Jews is unconscionable. Nothing can make up for what was lost, but be assured the children of survivors are due some compensation as well.

          • March 19, 2016 at 1:07 am
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            Phillis Schieber writes: The Poles were Hitler’s “willing executioners”. … “Most did nothing [to save the Jews]”.

            I believe the second part of that statement is true — most Poles did nothing. Yes, because most people are afraid to challenge a brutal police state.

            Yes, But it is FUNDAMENTALLY UNJUST and stupid to say that those Polish civilians who did nothing in face of mass murder were willing executioners.

            Firstly, by that measure most citizens of UK, USA and Canada, countries not occupied b the Nazis, would be “willing executioners, too” They did not even try to to pressure their governments to bomb the gas chambers or the rail lines to them.

            This indifference to the faith of Jews being murdered by the Nazis went to the top of Allied governments, They sent bombers from Britain to bomb German ammunition plans 50 km from Auschwitz, but refused the pleas (of Jewish organizations and the Polish Government in Exile, based in London) to bomb these rail lines.

            Learn the story of Jan Kurski, a Polish office, whom the Polish Government in Exile sent to some Ghettos and Concentration camps in order that he may report to Churchill and Roosevelt. Roosevelt heard him in person and …did nothing.

            These Allied leaders could have have saved a significant part Jews who were victims of the Nazis. Perhaps a million or two lives. They chose not to help.

            Read on and see the taped interview with Karski at the Jan Karski Educational Foundation: http://www.jankarski.net/en

            There is more. During the Holocaust. the top official in charge of immigration to the USA – Breckenridge Long, was an anti Semite and did his best to prevent those Jews that had a chance to escape the Holocaust, from entering the USA – most of them perished.

            At the same time, the top officials in charge of immigration to Canada – Frederick Blair, also an anti Semite, also did his best to prevent those Jews that had a chance to escape the Holocaust, from entering Canada – most of them also perished.

          • December 31, 2017 at 3:47 pm
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            Not some but most Polish people were hostile to the Jews during and prior to the war. It was the mood of the nation. It was a global sentiment not just a Polish one. Lets be real and not blur the reality with wishful thinking. A hopeful outlook should not cloud what was. Oh and ‘the Polish people’ who you suggest were treated badly after the war include jews. They were Polish people, you have seperated them in your dialogue. You see there is still a way to go in order to get it right.

        • July 25, 2014 at 4:18 am
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          the only pure fact is that, unfortunately, your mother’s scheduled back alley abortion of you ended in failure – lesson learned – next time she should see an expert

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          • September 1, 2014 at 1:57 pm
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            My family owned 350 acres in Poland. I have several documents but don’t know who to contact anymore. I’m getting different opinions from legal counsel. If the Polish government would finally return the jewish owned property, it would more than likely affect their economy,

        • November 5, 2014 at 10:38 pm
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          Chris Wright, instead of hatemongering, learn some history about the suffering of the Polish people during both the German and Soviet occupations.

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        • February 4, 2018 at 10:04 pm
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          2500 Jews died at Polish hands. 30,000 Poles were recorded as executed for helping Jews. An unknown number of Jews died at Jewish hands. An unknown number of Poles died at Jewish hands – during and after the war.
          Witold Pilecki – got himself into Auschwitz and back out again so he could give a detailed account. Postwar – tortured by the Stalinist Jew Josef Goldberg and shot in the back of the head. His remains are yet to be found – they are somewhere in the “meadow” part of Powazki military cemetery. No American ever mentions him – spoils the narrative.

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      • May 22, 2018 at 9:08 am
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        Hi Piotrus,

        Rabbi Karmel started his claim in 1989 !! I guess you are an economist so you’d calculate and understand the property values as a function of time passed . To make it simple , if Poland returned the properties in the 90-ies it would have been cheap compared to the current values .
        In the long term those properties will have to go to the rightful owners and not to the ” slupow”
        and other local ” biznesmanow” as it often happened in the last 10 years . Simply corruption and let the real owners wait. Well, not very fair – is it ?

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    • October 30, 2013 at 2:42 am
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      pope paul lived in a jewish owned house in Krakow. Does anyone know if that house is still standing? who occupies it? Mitterand in France,I believe, took a jewish mans house for himself. Doesnot anyone have respect for person and property. If not chaos will inherit the wind.

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      • October 30, 2013 at 3:02 am
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        The popes live in the Vatican in Rome, not in Poland.

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        • October 30, 2013 at 3:19 am
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          Your right to say that the popes reside, in our generation ,..in Rome. My reference to Pope Paul/ was inclusive to his Polish life as a young man with his family and his close love for Poland and its people which no one would want to ever take away from him.

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          • October 30, 2013 at 4:13 am
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            I assume you mean Pope John Paul II who was elected pope prior to the fall of communism. If you had cared to read all comments on here you would have seen some months ago I wrote that in communist era Poland there was no such thing as private property so how could he have lived in Jewish property when all property had been confiscated by the state?

          • October 30, 2013 at 7:18 pm
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            Dear Stan;
            Thankyou for recent comment about John Paul II. Pope John Paul II lived in Krakow as I have said in a house with sharing of this abode with its Jewish owners who also lived there. Pope John Paul was very aware of
            the large jewish presence in Krakow and had many boyhood Jewish friends from Krakow and even Jewish survivors he was close with even through his papacy. I know that he bicycled through and about
            Krakow as a seminarian whether he continued to live in that house is
            not really entirely germane i.e., Whether the Germans technically made a fiat taking the properties of all residents is not my point and is probally irrelevant to those polish, jewish survivors, heirs or claimants etc. I am sure that the modern state of Poland wouldnot exist unless its people were housed legaly,properly, and humanely including the right apparently to reclaim their property without relying on sophistry or devious artificial arguments about German fascists to justify wrongful results.Do you have a problem with that? Do not be afraid or lack faith of how much it may cost Poland. A comment only: …… (I donnot know the details on this point, What your government could or maybe able to do do is bring in the Germans and jewish/Israeli(?) ngo”s (non-governmental organizations) for negotiating/ balancing reparations to jews and poles. King Casimir probably would have brought in the Jews for just such financial conundrums in the Poland of those days)
            The morally and legally right thing for Poland to do is give back properties plain and simply stated ,how it is done is not my affair but it could be yours..It will like every other test in life take strength and courage..but you are up to it.

            With love to all the very decent Polish people and their culture and their many contributions to humanity.

          • July 25, 2014 at 4:55 am
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            When will non-Poles finally understand that they cannot own anything in Poland? This is our Holy Land.

          • April 20, 2016 at 2:15 pm
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            Let say, how it was ! !

            Jakub Berman -Between 1944 and 1953, he was considered Joseph Stalin’s right hand in the People’s Republic of Poland – in charge of the Ministry of Public Security – the largest secret police in Polish history and one of its most repressive institutions
            Jakub Berman -was one of many Polish communist Jews, with very bloody hands (killing over 50,000) and one to blame of your property confiscation.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_of_Public_Security_(Poland)

            Ministry of Public Security – The killing and torture machine of Stalinism in 1944-1954 with 38% of Jewish members
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_of_Public_Security_(Poland)

            The Stalinist reign of terror Infiltrated by Soviet NKGB and NKVD agents – the Ministry of Public Security was well known for its criminal nature.

        • September 19, 2016 at 12:34 am
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          What? Throughout his whole life? I think not.

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      • November 4, 2013 at 12:15 pm
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        This house is in Wadowice, 50 km south from Kraków. There is a museum in it now. It was given back to the Jewish inheritor few years ago and bought back by a Polish entrepreneur Ryszard Krauze, who later handed it on to Church.

        According to Polish law, anyone whose familly owned a boulding before WWII and who is able to prove it in court can get the boulding back. I don’t understand why should Mr Karmel get some kind of special treatment in this matter. Polish citizens with the same problem has to go through court as well, otherwise anyone could claim rights to any boulding…

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        • November 4, 2013 at 5:11 pm
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          Matt – You are right that Polish citizens whose property was nationalized or expropriated have to go though the courts to recover it (“courts” here includes administrative tribunals). You are also right that people (typically Jews, but not only) living outside of Poland should be treated the same way as claimants who live in Poland. You are also correct to state that prior ownership must be proven, that otherwise people could make false claims.

          Unfortunately, you are WRONG in stating “According to Polish law, anyone whose family owned a building before WWII and who is able to prove it in court can get the building back.” There are many Polish statutes of limitations (przedawnienie) and other roadblocks placed in the path of claimants.

          Yes, there are also contrary (pro-return, in effect) decisions of the Polish Supreme Court and Polish Constitutional Tribunal that contradict these laws. But, under the Polish legal system, this does not automatically invalidate those confiscations.

          In America for instance, when the U.S. Supreme Court declares a section of some law as unconstitutional, this has a great executory effect. In Poland, such declarations are made by the Constitututional Tribunal, which does not have real powers.

          This bizantine feature of Polish legal system is a huge roadblock for litigants in many matters.

          Forgive me, but I sense that you are not aware that tens of thousands of Poles who reside in Poland are fighting this unjust system for decades.

          As a result, in the property restitution matters, the few Polish lawyers my firm (www.PolandPropertyRecovery.com) works with, agree to mainly-contingent fees only if the value of the property justifies this and if I contribute also. Still, we can accept only a few such mainly-contingent cases, because the recovery takes some years (even when efficiently conducted) and in the meanwhile we all have to eat.

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          • November 11, 2015 at 2:12 am
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            Alex. We have been hounded by two different men telling us that my grandmother has property in Warsaw owed to her. I know she did have property there. One of these men is coming to Australia to visit someone in Sydney and he wants to come to Melbourne to meet with us. He wants all the birth death and marriage documents which we are not going to give him. Is restitution really worth it?

          • November 11, 2015 at 5:51 pm
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            THIS IS IN REPLY TO BARBARA, WHO WROTE:
            Alex. We have been hounded by two different men telling us that my grandmother has property in Warsaw owed to her. I know she did have property there. One of these men is coming to Australia to visit someone in Sydney and he wants to come to Melbourne to meet with us. He wants all the birth death and marriage documents which we are not going to give him. Is restitution really worth it?

            ANSWER
            Most pre-war buildings in Warsaw (but not Warsaw-Praga) were destroyed during WW2, and the heirs of the former owner are not entitled to compensation for new buildings, which a third party paid for. They are entitled to compensation for the land under the former building.

            The amount of compensation paid for such land varies but today a common figure for central Warsaw is around 6,000 and up zlotys per sq. meter — 1.500 USD and up per sq. meter. In Warsaw, as a rule, the lot of a of a building was upwards of 700 sq. m.. Some were 10 times larger.

            HOWEVER, the process is worth it IF AND ONLY IF (IFF) you do not get scammed. I would not provide vital records to anyone without checking them out and would not meet with them until I saw that they are proposing a fair and transparent contract.

            This should include some client control over the monetization. As an example, around a year ago, we came across a contract that a member of the former Polish aristocracy (yep!) and a big Polish law firm (yep!) jointly proposed to heirs, in which they held out a hope for obtaining 2,000 zlotys per sq. meter.

            Caveat emptor – Buyer beware.

            You may call me on Skype for a free consultation (my Skype name is: OlekWolf). BTW, we do not ask for confidential information before we issue to clients our written Confirmation of Confidentiality.

        • February 17, 2014 at 8:48 pm
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          My mother, now deceased, was a Polish Holocaust survivor. Her grandfather and parents owned much property in Warsaw and Krakow, including Roma shoe factory. The litigation for the large apartment building in Warsaw on Sienna, which I saw while in Poland in 2004, when I testified in court for the litigation to reclaim this building, has been going on for over 15 years. I carry this cause on for the memory of my beloved mother who was the only survivor of her entire family. She emigrated after the war to Israel, was in the Israeli army, came to US and lived until she died of cancer. The roadblocks we have hit are numerous. The cost of moving forward has been too much for us and we can no longer afford lawyers. I only hope for the sake of my father, now 83, and my mother’s memory as well as all who suffered so, as she did, that there is justice and some light at the end of this heart wrenching tunnel. If anyone can help us, we have already proven in court that the building is ours and no other heirs survive.

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          • February 17, 2014 at 9:35 pm
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            Stephanie, I work in this area. Warsaw properties are much easier to recover now because of the Constitutional Tribunal (of Poland) judgment of June 2011. We have recovered in Krakow, too.

            I will be glad to give you a free consult. Call me: USA landline 302-351-6200 or Skype olekwolf .

            Uszy Do Gory!

          • April 20, 2016 at 2:30 pm
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            Abandoned property are categories of the common law of property which deals with personal property or chattel which has left the possession of its rightful owner without having directly entered the possession of another person. Property can be considered lost, mislaid or abandoned depending on the circumstances under which it is found by the next party who obtains its possession.

            There is an old saying that possession is nine-tenths of the law, perhaps dating back centuries. This means that in most cases, the possessor of a piece of property is its rightful owner without evidence to the contrary. More colloquially, this may be called finders, keepers. The contradiction to this principle is theft by finding, which may occur if conversion occurs after finding someone else’s property.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost,_mislaid,_and_abandoned_property

        • March 14, 2014 at 10:22 pm
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          They are not given their house back this is the whole problem, non Jewish people I.e Germans and poles all stole Jewish properties, and they should be ashamed of themselves!

          Poland, give the Jewish their homes back, they are not for engines, they were polish till you anti same tics turned your back on them!

          Disgraceful

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          • March 15, 2014 at 7:24 am
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            Luke is clearly showing his ignorance of the subject here, just as much as he is showing his ignorance of the English language.

          • March 15, 2014 at 4:30 pm
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            Forgive my dyslexia, I guess you’d have me gassed under the old euthanasia programme.

            Justice has no time limit

          • March 15, 2014 at 4:32 pm
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            Maybe the Nazis would, I wouldn’t.

          • July 25, 2014 at 4:20 am
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            why not? he seems demented

          • November 5, 2014 at 10:44 pm
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            You mean, the way Israel should give back the Palestinians their land and property the Israelis stole?

      • November 5, 2014 at 12:18 am
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        Thes ppl was citizens in France/Poland – right? It was not on the Mars!
        Why any property ownet by one jaw should be given to other jaw?
        If I wont pay my bills thay will take my home…would you like to see bill for 70yers??

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      • April 20, 2016 at 2:28 pm
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        Abandoned property are categories of the common law of property which deals with personal property or chattel which has left the possession of its rightful owner without having directly entered the possession of another person. Property can be considered lost, mislaid or abandoned depending on the circumstances under which it is found by the next party who obtains its possession.

        There is an old saying that possession is nine-tenths of the law, perhaps dating back centuries. This means that in most cases, the possessor of a piece of property is its rightful owner without evidence to the contrary. More colloquially, this may be called finders, keepers. The contradiction to this principle is theft by finding, which may occur if conversion occurs after finding someone else’s property.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost,_mislaid,_and_abandoned_property

        The rights of a finder of such property are determined in part by the status in which it is found. Because these classifications have developed under the common law of England, they turn on nuanced distinctions. The general rule attaching to the three types of property may be summarized as: A finder of property acquires no rights in mislaid property, is entitled to possession of lost property against everyone except the true owner, and is entitled to keep abandoned property. This rule varies by jurisdiction.

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    • April 11, 2016 at 1:35 am
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      How sweet? !
      How bitter rather that those abandoned and forgotten properties are being reclaimed after so many years and that the greed takes over…
      Those buildings were ABANDONED !!

      When life comes back no normal (for the average Pole, well almost, those greedy suckers from Israel all of a sudden remember their abandoned properties that have been lived in, renovated and taken care of by Poles who lost their own homes during the war.

      Sod off !!

      Reply
      • April 12, 2016 at 1:56 am
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        HKW – Far as I know, plenty of Catholics claim the property they inherited, too. But that somehow does not anger you. Something in your guts is really bothering you. I would bet you are not popular with the ladies …

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    • October 1, 2016 at 2:23 am
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      This makes me so sick. These properties were taken from people as part of the largest and most disgusting crimes committed against humanity. The minute that pig Hitler chomped down on his cyanide capsule and put that gun to his head EVERYTHING that was taken from the Jewish people should of been returned on a silver platter. And yes, I know I’m speaking out of anger and not so much out of intelligence or knowledge but seriously I understand returning money, art, jewels and other material things is difficult to figure out and then do. But…. PROPERTY??? It was theirs and you took it…nothing hard about that. Except that they are still the same pigs they were back when they followed Hitler..I’m so sorry to these families. Your families suffered so greatly back then and here it is 2016 and you’re still being made to suffer.

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      • October 1, 2016 at 5:21 pm
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        Ms. Walker – some clarifications are in order in response to your post of today.

        The Nazis did not confiscate anyone’s assets to benefit anyone but themselves. Their confiscations — robbery plainly –of Jewish assets was in the name of and for the benefit of the Third Reich.

        All legal enactments by the Nazis concerning Polish citizens (of all religions) and concerning assets on the territory of Poland (without distinction to religion of their rightful owners) were expressly voided by the Polish government as soon as the German Army was thrown out of Poland.

        However, the Polish government after the war was a Communist one. It objected not only to Jews owning properties, but also to catholics and protestants owning properties. Via variety of its own (Communist) legal enactments It confiscated the bulk of all properties located on the territory of Poland.

        For the record, I do not approve of such confiscations. But is not correct and not fair to represent them as anti-Jewish measures.

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    • February 24, 2017 at 4:54 pm
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      Donald Trump ‘s son in law is Jewish so maybe D.Trump will make Polish authorities give back all the properties belonging to Jewish-Polish citizens especially when those properties are used by local authorities as offices etc.
      What a disgrace the process has been so slow.
      I think in France the restitutions started right after the 2nd World War, it is about time that Poland does the same.

      Reply
  • November 18, 2012 at 2:16 pm
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    If this building was abandoned 70 years ago, and during the last 70 years Polish families were living on it, shouldn’t be his property anymore. 70 years, come on, at least one generation probably was born and died already there; how can this guy claim it’s his property? WWII was terrible, but somebody should stop justifying stupidity because of the pain his grandparents suffered 70 years ago, that was ok for sometime, but not anymore.

    Reply
    • October 17, 2013 at 10:15 pm
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      What if someone kills you and does the same to your family? Would you still think like that?

      Reply
      • October 29, 2013 at 7:48 pm
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        Tonino the status quo is a big enough issue ..Witness the so called brotherly love of popes recently to the people of the Jewish faith however no real changes are evident.so they have little or no remorse even though they donnot say we killed Jesus and are against anti-Semitism ..so what,?antiJudaism and a jewish style justice of true repentance and the balance between neighbors and love ofG-d is still not in place. Let them refuse communion and absolution of sin and lets see if a catholic church is still standing.

        Reply
        • October 29, 2013 at 7:54 pm
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          The Pablo of October 23,2013 7;48 is I, Maurice Medoff (my mistake in typing)

          Reply
      • July 25, 2014 at 4:52 am
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        I don’t know – why don’t you ask the Arabs

        Reply
    • February 17, 2014 at 8:51 pm
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      It is comments and attitudes such as yours that are the problem. Callous!

      Reply
    • March 14, 2014 at 10:26 pm
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      Time does not hide the fact that polish stole Jewish homes, so after 70 years if I stole, I’d still be arrested, chuck thieves out and give the Jewish their homes back, otherwise your nothing more than a nazi. 70 years, who gives a! 70 years too late I tell u!

      Reply
      • March 15, 2014 at 7:26 am
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        And time will not hide your ignorance Luke. I’d stop commenting on a subject you clearly know nothing about if I were you.

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        • March 15, 2014 at 1:55 pm
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          I think you’ll find I’m more educated on truth, than lies :)

          Reply
          • March 15, 2014 at 2:29 pm
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            If you were educated on the truth then you clearly would not be posting comments based on misinformation and lies, you would thoroughly research the situation people found themselves in in Poland under German occupation and you would come to an understanding. Instead you merely repeat the anti Polish propaganda and slurs that are constantly peddled out by the likes of Eric and his ilk without looking to see if there is any basis of truth therein.

      • July 25, 2014 at 4:51 am
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        I am sensing a Russian provocateur

        Reply
  • November 18, 2012 at 2:24 pm
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    Of course it’s all the fault of the Poles. Yet again we see a foreigner trying show us Poles as being allies of Nazi Germany during The Holocaust and then of course we were allies of Soviet Russia in dispossesing the survivors of their property. We are terrible people us Poles, scum of the earth, it’s a wonder we are allowed to have our own country.

    Reply
  • November 18, 2012 at 2:28 pm
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    “I’m simply saying: there’s property that’s mine, I would like to come back and reclaim it. I’d like to just walk in the door and say I’m home”… the thing is, if he didn’t live there, if his parents probably didn’t either, it’s hard to believe he will feel like at home. He will enter there, rent the flats or open some business, and take a flight back to NY in no time. This is just pathetic, he wouldn’t be making all this noise if the building was in nowa huta for sure.

    Reply
  • November 18, 2012 at 9:55 pm
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    70 years have passed. Time to move on. This rabbi didn’t own, pay for or in any way earn this property. Who knows? Maybe his grandparents would not even have left it to him anyway… get over it.

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    • January 15, 2013 at 1:03 pm
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      600 years v 70 years. You work it out. Maybe you have no respect for history or are completely bereft of any morals.

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      • July 25, 2014 at 4:23 am
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        non-Poles cannot own any property in Poland. Whatever you owned before was owned illegally. Now that you have revealed yourself, perhaps the Polish government can ask for lost rents that your ancestors failed to pay.

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        • July 25, 2014 at 4:39 pm
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          There is an accurate way to describe this post, a Nazi in a Polish edition.

          Reply
          • July 25, 2014 at 10:02 pm
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            a post is not a person. grammar school, anyone?

            If you’re going to prove Godwin’s Law right, please at least use proper English (or proper whatever).

    • February 25, 2013 at 2:51 pm
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      Wow! The Jewish people paid dearly and for nothing other than one person’s belief that they were less than worthy of human dignity. While those making claims are only descendants, it is the principal of seeing your family, their friends, and neighbors righted.

      Reply
    • March 15, 2014 at 7:34 am
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      Mark, get a hold of yourself, man. You may need to change the weed.

      Reply
      • March 15, 2014 at 1:53 pm
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        Marcus should have his property taken of him out of evil predudice greed, he’ll soon change his tune about justice!

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    • October 23, 2015 at 6:17 am
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      The general concensus among all the countries, is to gove back what was stolen and plundered by the nazis to their owners or their families. If someone gets a painting back that was claimed to have been sold by the Jewish owner in the late 30’s, but there was no record that they ever recieved payment, so the painting was returned to the owners heir. That heir then sent it to auction for 38 million. Then I’d say people are entitled to have their real property returned to them. An heir can be the closest living relative, regardless of whether or not any one may or may not have willed anything to them. You need to get over it…

      Reply
      • October 23, 2015 at 3:07 pm
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        The point missed is that there was a social revolution in this region carried out by the USSR. Capitalists and other thieves were justly expropriated. Those ego lost personal property and family members and their civilization should be compensated those who acquired property through the stolen labor power of others should not be compensated.

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      • October 23, 2015 at 3:51 pm
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        The thread should not be called Reclaiming Jewish Property in Krakow, but something like Reclaiming Nationalize Property in Poland. Why so?

        The reason is that the postwar Polish government immediately voided all Nazi decrees, which targeted particularly (though not only) Jewish property. And then, being good Communists (like many writers on this Forum) the then Polish nationalized all larger properties and many smaller ones.

        In this “taking” there absolutely was no discrimination — Complete Equality Reigned. Yes. At the time, property of Catholics, Lutherans (Protestants), Jews, Orthodox Christians and Muslims (yes, there are some in Poland) was taken – all for the Glory of Socialism.

        The myth that Jews were particularly targeted at the time (postwar), my be kept on the same high Pedestal as the myth that Anglo-Saxons landed in June 1944 in France and put an end to Hitler. Per Hollywood, the Red Army had noting to do with the matter.

        80% or 90% of today’s claimants are catholic Poles. , , : major government ?j by wh

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        • August 22, 2018 at 11:34 pm
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          Alex it sounds as though you really don’t like catholics. I don’t think your professional enough to be working on these cases

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  • November 19, 2012 at 1:11 pm
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    Weren’t the Jewish families who lost their property also Polish citizens? Whatever you may think about this particular claim there is no denying that under the Nazis and later the communists, many polish citizens lost property and it is only fair that they should at least be allowed to make submissions to the courts to request it’s return to the family even if they are no longer living in Poland.

    Ambrosz, your cynicism is showing, you really should know that Nowa Huta was started in the late 1940s, so it’s very unlikely the rabbi’s family would have had any claim to anything there.

    Reply
    • November 19, 2012 at 3:09 pm
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      I agree with you nuszka, people should be allowed to reclaim their property and it should be easier to re-claim if that property is in the hands of local or national government. What I find distasteful about this article, Eric Scott and the language he uses is that he is implying that as Poles, we played a full and active part in dispossesing Polish Jewish citizens of their property both during the Nazi occupation and in the Russian imposed communist régime that governed Poland between 1944 and 1989. He makes no mention of the fact that both the British and American governments helped Russia impose its will on our country and he constantly makes us out to be a complete nation of anti-Semites. I suggest he is filed along with the likes of Jan T Gross as a Polonophobe and should be challenged at every level and Poles should refuse to co-operate with him and his endeavours to paint our country in the worst light possible.

      Reply
    • November 19, 2012 at 5:38 pm
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      nuszka, of course I know; what I meant is that he’s asking for this property back because it’s valuable. If it wasn’t in a nice location probably he wouldn’t had requested it back. By the way, I don´t think I´m showing cynicism just by saying that the building has much more to do with the people that lived in there during the last 70 years, than with some guy from New York; I´m trying to be logic, practical and to live in the present.
      Would you kick out the families that lived in there during the last 70 years because the grandfather of some guy from NY owned that building 70 years ago, before the building was abandoned? I would maybe compensate him in some way, but 70 years is a long long time.

      Reply
  • November 19, 2012 at 11:05 pm
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    comment deleted

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    • November 20, 2012 at 7:34 am
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      I guess its a good time to take a shower, stinking human being.

      Reply
    • November 20, 2012 at 3:28 pm
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      Can you tell us what is your nationality and where are you from, as I smell a rat myself… ;-)

      Reply
  • November 19, 2012 at 11:07 pm
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    How about the Jews paying the Palistine for the property they have stolen.

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    • November 20, 2012 at 7:36 am
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      Youre so scared that the Jews will come and claim your home, which maybe belonged to them several years ago, but youre so “brave” to tell others that they should give back their land and homes. Would you like to show us an example first and do it by yourself?? Brave guy..

      Reply
      • July 25, 2014 at 4:49 am
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        Perhaps his point is better made by pointing out that Poles do not claim the universe. Consequently, you should work out property ownership in non-Polish lands. In Poland, however, all property must belong to Poles – that is the Word of B-g.

        Reply
  • November 20, 2012 at 7:24 am
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    Is this guy from the BBC? The grandfather of my Polish raised wife owned a flour mill in Pre-war Poland. The family who IS living in Poland and is NOT Jewish is still trying to get some compensation with very little luck so far and not much more expected. The question is who is going to pay for this? If the state is to pay than should it not be those states responsible i.e. Germany and Russia? Good luck trying to get money out of Putin. Do you really think its justificable that the Poland with a GDP per capita of about a quarter of that of an average New Yorker should be giving money away to these New Yorkers? Very greedy man Rabbi Joseph Karmel! His family left the country, has no more cultural ties to it. There are many Poles who stayed to rebuild the country and are owed money by the government who will never see any of it. A greedy New Yorker should not see a cent.

    Reply
    • November 2, 2013 at 2:39 am
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      Matthew – you pointed to something very important which many people miss. Yes, the Polish government (when it was Communist) confiscated on the same basis property of those Polish citizens who were Jews and those who were not.

      The problem is that subsequent Polish governments, on one hand repudiate Communism, on the other they do not want to return the property nor to pay compensation for it. And there is simply no legal or moral justification for it.

      Please note that I speak now only to the real estate which is on the present territory of Poland.

      You ask who should pay for it? Actually, in high majority of the cases, no one should. The property should be returned to the owners, pardon me, now to the heirs of the owners. Practically all owners have already passed away. The heirs upon recovery have to pay a succession tax in Poland. Thus, actually the Treasury of Poland collects money from such cases. Afterwards private capital and entrepreneurship can be applied to develop or improve these properties,

      Yes, in special cases, it is impractical to return the property. For instance, because a school was built upon it. Settlements can be worked out for such cases.They are a minority of the situations.

      I am surprised that your relatives are not suing for recovery of the actual property. We do that for clients, sometimes on a contingent fee basis. See our website http://www.PolandPropertyRecovery.com

      Regards,

      Alex Wolf

      Reply
      • November 2, 2013 at 4:44 am
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        Alex, the Communist government was imposed on Poland by the British, American and Russian government. The Germans were the ones who expelled most of the people from their property, much was destroyed. You talk of moral and legal justifications but as you well know morals have no basis in law. However you put the full moral and legal responsibility on the Polish government and Polish state without once referring to the foreign powers who have put the Polish state into this position. It is not the fault of the Polish state that people were expelled from their properties, it was not the fault of the Polish state that much property was destroyed as a consequence of unprovoked attacks on the Polish state by the Germans and Russians in 1939 yet greedy lawyers like you are once again making Poland the victims just like we were in 1939.

        Reply
        • November 2, 2013 at 5:23 am
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          Stan – not quite so. Nie do konca.

          First, the Communist government was imposed on Poland only by Soviets. They took Poland from the Nazis by force… and kept it for their own empire. The Brits and the Americans had no say in the matter.

          Yes, the Germans were the ones who expelled most of the people from their property, much was destroyed. – but the land remained. That is why it is called real estate. Contrary to what you say, outside of Warsaw and a few other cities, many cities were only partly damaged by the war, some hardly – e.g. Krakow. Of course the people were harmed, 6 million Poles were killed, many more were maimed.

          You are wrong to say that morals have no basis in law. They are the foundation of law. For instance the rule that you cannot kill your parents and inherit from them, is embedded in the law of many countries.

          No, I do not put the responsibility on the Polish government and Polish state without once referring to the foreign powers who have put the Polish state into this position. WW2 was a crime stared by Hitler with the help of Stalin. Everyone knows this.

          I merely note that after the war many properties in Poland were confiscated form their owners by the communists. And the present, democratic and free Poland has not returned them – except as result of lawsuits and except to the Church, and some communal Jewish property .

          Calling me greedy, because I say this, shows that you have a Communist mindset. Hello, Comrade! Witajcie, Towarzyszu!

          I submit, it is very much in the interest of free Poland, also for future generations, that property rights be respected, as in other free nations.

          Reply
          • July 25, 2014 at 4:45 am
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            Alex – there can be no property rights in Poland for non-Poles. That said, if there are people that you call Jews but that are actually Polish (i.e., people who have a Polish ancestor), then they should be entitled to compensation or their property back.

          • July 25, 2014 at 4:33 pm
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            Max – I happen to be Polish. And I am intrigued by your brilliant idea.

            You say non-Poles should have no property rights in Poland. I see your point, Max Bobrowski cannot have those half-breeds running around. Correct? Let us see where your plan take us.

            King Jan III, Sobieski, Polsh national hero and the savior of Europe from the Turks, married a French lady (Marysienka), so by your rules his heirs should have had no property rights in Poland.The same for the children if Jadwiga, who married the Lithuanian prince Jagiello. Their progeny produced the Golden Era of Poland. But you know better, to you, they were half-breeds.

            Maria Sklodowska, she of the 2 Nobel prices, married a Frenchman. If the French follow your rules, Maria’s heirs should have no property rights in France. Le Pen would love you. The Polish guys in the Foreign Legion, who saved some money to buy a house in France, would love you less. I think it would take someone like that to EXPLAIN to you how fair your ideas are.

          • July 25, 2014 at 9:56 pm
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            The people you’ve described would be Polish with the exception of Jadwiga/Jagiello’s progeny – however, the two of them did not have any children – but history is obviously not your forte.

            I don’t know where your “half-breeds” came from – was that how your parents referred to you? Obviously, left a mark.

            Why don’t you let the French decide what the property rights ought to be in France.

            If it rains, do you blame it on Hitler? If you step in “bat guano” do you likewise, scream “foul Nazis”!

          • July 25, 2014 at 9:58 pm
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            you “happen to be Polish” – ok so one of your parents was a Pole – great

          • July 25, 2014 at 10:10 pm
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            This is comment on many by Max. He is full of pis.is and vinegar. More full of the former, far as I can tell. I would hate to be around when he bursts. Jak mawial Yaro, spadaj, … ale ostroznie ze wzgledu na w/w zawartosc.

          • July 25, 2014 at 10:20 pm
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            “spadaj” – careful, you’re not talking to your wife

          • July 25, 2014 at 10:43 pm
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            Son, you a riot. ROFL.

          • November 5, 2014 at 11:02 pm
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            Alex, it’s simply not true that the US and UK “had no say in the matter.” In 1943 the Soviets were not yet in a position to demand a land grab in Poland, yet in Teheran FDR bent over backwards to ingratiate himself with “Uncle Joe,” while betraying his steadfast Polish ally. By the time of the Yalta summit, the Red Army had already entered and occupied Poland and it was too late (had Churchill and FDR even bothered to try to save Poland). Poland got screwed and continues to bear the consequences of the betrayal.

  • November 20, 2012 at 7:31 am
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    You and many other Poles are afraid that you will have to give back your homes or property back to the Jews who owned them only 60 or 70 years ago. Youre not ready to give back on your home and give it back to the one it belongs too. At the same time, you and many other Poles have no problem to say that Israel should give back land and Israelis should give up on their homes and give it back to the Palestinians, only because they calim it belonged to them thousands of years ago. Its very easy for you to ask others to give up on their homes and property, but when it comes to you…no way.

    Reply
    • November 20, 2012 at 7:11 pm
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      The key factors here are: 1) The word ABANDONED has some meaning here 2) 70 years have passed
      If you told me the family claimed the building 5, 10 or 15 years after the war, I would say it’s extremely unfair. Times matters here, a lot… there’s no actual relationship between the reclaimer and the building

      Palestina is a completely unrelated topic. Yes, is also about people taking something that didn’t belong to them (and that wasn’t abandoned) but still completely different topic, nobody is invading, killing or bombing anybody in Krakow nowadays. There’s no possible parallelism.

      Reply
      • November 22, 2012 at 4:51 pm
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        You are an ignorant fool. These properties weren’t just simply abandoned. People were forced to leave. Did you miss that day in school?

        It’s people like you and others here who give us Polish a bad name internationally.
        The current occupants or the Polish government have no proper title rights or ownership of these properties.

        I’m sure most of the current occupants probably know how these properties were acquired by there grandparents and if they had an ounce of decency they would evacuate these properties. If the situation was reversed I’m sure they’d want the same to happen. Nobody is looking for 70 years worth of rent, so look at it one way 3 generations of some families got to live there free.

        Making comparisons with other countries and other situations is futile also. Just because someone else doesn’t do the right thing doesn’t mean you should follow suit. I wouldn’t be happy occupying one of these properties considering the history and I’m sure the majority of decent people would think similarly instead of turning around and say “eh they’ve been gone 70 years its mine now.
        Neanderthal.

        Reply
        • November 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm
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          I could continue, but it would be eternal
          1) The word abandoned it’s written in the article, not my fault.
          2) I’m neanderthal for having a different opinion? Then you’re a fascist

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        • July 25, 2014 at 4:25 am
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          Interesting – is this how the Polish Intifada is going to start? We may be witnessing history here folks!

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    • November 20, 2012 at 7:13 pm
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      By the way, it’s amazing that you accompany “70 years” with the word “only”. 70 years means that already one generation was born and died outside the abandoned buildings. We are not historians, we are people living in houses.

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      • July 25, 2014 at 4:59 am
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        apparently not people sensu strictum – the prior commenter labeled you a “Neandethal”

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    • November 21, 2012 at 9:50 pm
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      Whoever you are you really need to improve your understanding of English as I clearly stated that I think that people should be allowed to claim their family property back if it’s still standing. What part of that do you not understand?

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      • November 22, 2012 at 7:58 pm
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        I understood you perfectly, I just disagree

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        • November 22, 2012 at 8:06 pm
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          Ambrosz, I was referring to the poster who decided to call himself “Stan, your hypocrite”

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          • November 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm
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            I´m sorry :)

    • November 5, 2014 at 11:05 pm
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      “Stan, your hypocrite”: not “thousands of years ago,” but in 1948. Oh, and there are the current illegal Israeli settlements…

      Reply
  • November 20, 2012 at 2:40 pm
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    (1) I suppose the restitution claims have been going on in Krakow for some time now. I have a relative, whose family had been living in a so-called ‘commune’ tenament house in Old Podgorze District, and a couple of years ago the house was reclaimed by the pre-War owner’s descendants.

    (2) Are Jews also active in reclaiming properties left by their ancestors & countrymen in present-day Ukraine, Belarus & Lithuania?

    Reply
    • November 21, 2012 at 9:54 pm
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      A good point. I am sure there are many Poles who could also claim family property in those countries too. In fact I know that there are Polish families trying to reclaim family property in Lithuania and are finding it next to impossible to reclaim that property. Why don’t you do a film about that Eric? Why is Poland being singled out here? Oh yes, I forgot, Pole haters like Eric Scott get plenty of publicity and support and I extremely disappointed that the Kraków Post gives this man the oxygen of publicity people like him crave to promote his prejudiced agenda.

      Reply
      • November 2, 2013 at 2:48 am
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        Stan, Poland is a democratic country. Lithuania, however, is a a racist, xenophobic little place. Under Lithuanian law only persons who have Lithuanian citizenship can reclaim properties. They use that excuse to rob equally Polish Catholics and Polish Jews.

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        • July 25, 2014 at 4:26 am
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          Stop your podjudzanie you vile little racist.

          Poles and Lithuanians get along fine.

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  • November 23, 2012 at 12:51 am
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    All Polish (jewish or catholic) WWII victims should be treated equal.

    Restituting property leads to discrimination of other victims, who lost not a house, but other things which can’t be given back….life, health, money, art, towns, villages.

    After 1945 there was a “zero hour” in Poland. All of us became victims of German occupation and nobody has the right to turn back the clock and ask for better treatment. If you want your house, give me pre war Warsaw and Lwow back. Simple (and impossible) as that.

    Reply
  • November 23, 2012 at 12:54 am
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    ps: And 70 years, that’s a lot of unpaid taxes, bills (heating) and expensive restauration works. Probably more than the value of the property.

    Reply
    • November 2, 2013 at 2:49 am
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      Have you considered the value of the rent?

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      • July 25, 2014 at 5:00 am
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        Probably not much in a Communist country – you know – rent control and all that :-)

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        • July 25, 2014 at 4:08 pm
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          Exactly, this means that owners, non-Jewish and Jewish, were deprived of rent.

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          • July 25, 2014 at 9:59 pm
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            Hahaha – why don’t you sue the City of New York for lost rents first!

  • November 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm
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    “ps: And 70 years, that’s a lot of unpaid taxes, bills (heating) and expensive restauration works. Probably more than the value of the property.”

    1) No taxes would arise as these people were not resident in poland during this 70 year period.
    2)Why would you have the heating on if you were not there?
    3)It’s not their fault if somebody illegaly occupying their property carried out restoration work. (Maybe take it as a discount off 70 years unpaid rent).

    Reply
    • November 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm
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      2. Turn off heating for 70yrs and then you will see how an old house with wooden ceilings and windows will look like and what its value will be.

      3. Of course it is their fault. Should have taken care of it right after the war. Property = responsibility.

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      • January 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm
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        These people were attacked by the Polish of Krakow when they tried to their homes. Absolute fact. The Poles committed some disgusting atrocities.

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  • November 24, 2012 at 4:25 am
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    .They lost the property and that’s it.. the restitution burned up in the war.

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  • November 24, 2012 at 10:07 am
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    Hey folks, just a fresh news on topic…

    “The claims for restitution of property taken over during PRL (Polish Socialist Republic) are on the increase. However, in 1948-71 on foot of an agreement with 12 western countries Poland has already paid their citizens a compensation for the lost property”. (my own translation)

    “Cities are loosing tenement houses”: http://wyborcza.pl/1,91446,12917190,_Gazeta_Wyborcza___Miasta_traca_kamienice.html

    Hah!

    Reply
  • November 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm
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    I think we can conclude we have different opinions, but we also need more information.
    Were the places abandoned or not? When did the owners or descendents reclaim their or values? Did the original owners leave Poland with no intention to come back, or were they forced to leave during communism?

    I guess each case is different. What I thought about this was that, if someone left just after the war, leaving abandoned his home because it was just a place in ruins in a (literally) ruined country, then he lost his rights over the building. Claiming it 70 years after, with no cultural ties, when the country is a prosper place, makes him an OPPORTUNIST. Leaving a place in ruins it’s a small price for having a much better life than the poles that stayed, that’s for sure.

    Now that I know it maybe didn’t happen this way, that maybe they wanted to stay and were forced to leave, that maybe the original owners and not their opportunist descendents, wanted to have their places back; that changes the situation dramatically.

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    • December 2, 2012 at 1:23 pm
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      You do have a good point about each case being different. I don’t think anyone can argue that Jews were definitely dispossessed whilst Poland was under German occupation but it seems people like Eric Scott also wish to put a lot of that blame on Polish citizens, also the then Polish government-in-exile and the post 1989 democratic Poland. Not once does he ever admit that the country was under foreign occupation since 1939, not once does he acknowledge that the communist régime that governed Poland between 1944 and 1989 was imposed upon Poland by Russia, USA and Great Britain, all he tries to do is put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the current Polish government.

      Where is Eric now? He was very vocal on another article yet many questions have been posed here and he refuses to respond. What will happen to the people currently living in the disputed property? Will the people claiming ownership of the buildings be expected to recompense the Polish state, or the current owners if the building are in private hands, for the renovation and maintenance of these building while their “owners” have been in absentia?

      Eric likes to paint a nice black and white picture here but any intelligent person would realise that it is not as simple as that. Morally and in principle I agree that old family property should be returned but we have to examine each case individually. Should the process be quicker? Maybe, but if we are to determine the facts then these things can take time but I agree that 23 years is definitely too long. Maybe if Eric and his ilk took a more balanced approach he might illicit some sympathy and help but if he continues with his anti Polish agenda then he’ll get nowhere.

      Reply
    • October 23, 2015 at 6:26 am
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      Read, it stated they were forced out.

      Reply
  • December 2, 2012 at 12:41 pm
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    So….
    Nobody sees the irony here that this tribe is stealing ALL of the land of the Palestinians (NOW) yet want to make claims on their great-great grandparents (alleged) property that was “stolen” from “them?”

    Absolutely amazing.

    Reply
    • December 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm
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      Phil, irony? What irony? Be careful, you can’t criticise anything that the Israelis do because you will be immediately be labelled as an anti Semite.

      Reply
    • November 9, 2013 at 1:29 am
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      Phil – Now, there is a Polish equivalent of the Medal of Honor in America, called the order Virtuti Militari. I read that some Polish Jews received it. What is your view of them?

      Reply
      • July 25, 2014 at 4:42 am
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        what’s your point alex? gdie rzym gdie krym?

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  • December 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm
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    The German Government should pay the Price of these Properties to the Jewish Families.
    Poland was Victim of the Nazis.
    Houses are only material things anyway.
    The Nazis were the Thiefs and the Germans were Nazis not the Poles.
    One could also say Russia should pay Compensation for conquering Eastern Europe.
    This Man should realise that Properties have no real value,
    Its only a thing bought with money.
    And solely the Germans are Descendants of Nazi Germany.
    And why should the Present Owners suffer for the Crimes of other People?

    Reply
      • November 5, 2013 at 1:14 am
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        Minimal compensation for those who applied, and they had to have been American citizens by September 1, 1939.

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    • November 5, 2014 at 11:13 pm
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      John, you are absolutely right. It is despicable that the victims of Nazi Germany are now being victimized.

      Reply
  • January 14, 2013 at 10:49 am
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    Woww!
    Some of these comments are terrible.
    I m french and I have been living in Krakow for 8 months now.
    I heard a often about this polish syndrom (poland is the poorest nation and the whole world is against poland), and today I can read many exemples!
    This stinky nationalism shouldn’t enter in the discussion about giving back a property to someone or his family, who had been despoiled, killed, or deported.
    It was a great surprise when I heard that in krakow many buildings belonged nobody, especially former jewish buildings. The history isn’t updated here! 23 years of court and still no judgement, it is terrible!
    My opinion is, the genuine owner is known and it can’t be discussed. The discussion should be only about the conditions the buildings has to be given back.
    What about the laws of heritage in Poland? How are these building used today? Who is the declared owner today? Have they been destroyed during the war or totally renovated by the city? Is a possibility to nationalised these buildings, with a compensation for the former owner?
    It is a different case if the building had been totally renovated, and is used today to host poor families with low rent or any national benefit, or if the building is just used today to make money for the city or worst, private people.
    A honnest discussion without passion should be done, not like here. And it will help poland and international opinion to be clear and understand history.

    Reply
    • January 14, 2013 at 11:31 am
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      That’s just the problem, there is no honest discussion. People like Eric Scott are always portrayong Poles and Poland in a bad light so it is only natural we then get all defensive.

      Reply
  • January 21, 2013 at 8:57 am
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    1) Germany and Russia are the guilty parties, as has already been stated.
    2) Poland got nothing, either after WW2 or after the fall of communism. It got shafted by the Brits after WW2, betrayed by the Allies in order to appease ‘Uncle Joe’ Stalin. The US and Britain should therefor pay, too.
    3) Poland could potentially agree to reimburse the Jews as soon as the US reimburse the Indians for their stolen lands, Blacks for the free labor of the slaves. Same with Britain and the riches they got out of their colonies.
    4) Abandoned after the war is not exactly the same as driven off. Many Poles may have wanted to abandon their country when it fell to the commies, but couldn’t leave if they wanted to. 70 years is a bit long to remember one’s ‘beloved’ home in a place one never lived at

    Reply
  • February 1, 2013 at 5:59 pm
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    I support restitution in all cases where the circumstances are clear. This can be justified as the only path that may avoid future seizures. But many properties and businesses were seized in Poland from non-Jewish citizens, especially from former Polish lands now in the Ukraine. These cases were also handled very slowly – some lasting 30 to 40 years.

    It is also instructive to consider property seizures in other Western countries at about the same time. I would cite the USA and Canada for their seizure of homes and businesses of Japanese Canadians and Americans. Yes, there have been official apologies and token payments. Return of properties wasn’t on the agenda.

    Reply
  • March 10, 2013 at 4:52 pm
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    If the properties that were formerly owned by the Jews have been sold to new owners (who have payed money) after the ‘repossession’ then I think that they should not be given back. The government should be responsible for compensation payments for these properties… (Maybe 50-75% of the present day value) This payment could be funded by creating a tax on old city buildings in areas such as Krakow, etc.
    However if no one has actually payed money and there are still the descendants of Poles that repossessed the property after the Jews abandoned it then they should perhaps hold some responsibility and maybe they should be forced to pay a federal tax in order for compensation payments to be possible in Poland’s economic climate. However I think that this is perhaps a kind of cultural issue, perhaps some Poles do not want the Jews to return, drive up prices and not integrate. On the other hand some Poles might welcome the Jews with open arms. I might be stereotyping but I believe that most Jewish people who wish to reclaim property that were previously owned by their ancestors will not actually live in Poland, rather they will simply rent out a few apartments and gain a steady inflow of money whilst not spending that money in the Polish economy but in other foreign countries where they actually reside, eg. New York. Furthermore I think that restitution is a delicate issue because in a developed society you can not simply knock on someone’s door and demand the property from them with a few documents in one hand and a filled suitcase in the other. These people may have bought the property or may have been living their since they were born. Simply because their mother or father claimed a property that was abandoned does not constitute that they should have to be liable for the wrongs of other generations, cultures or people. For example the Aboriginals in Australia are also reclaiming land in Australia that was taken from them by settlers but they cannot simply knock on someone’s door and tell them to leave because a person’s house was built on sacred land or their ancestors’ bushland… I think that the government is right to be reluctant and should not just start giving property away to people who reside in other countries just because their ancestors lived there 70 years ago… But that’s just my opinion and I am entitled to it, so don’t hate me. :) I am from Switzerland but have Polish ancestors so I might seem biased…

    Reply
    • March 10, 2013 at 5:31 pm
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      Drogomir, the current owners of these buildings range from state and local government to private individuals and large private companies. I think it’s easier to deal with if the state or local government owns the properties than if the property is in private hands; and please don’t fall for the pathetic sob story of how their ancestors had their property stolen by their Polish neighbours, the reality is that in post war Poland the owning of private property was banned under the communist government that was imposed upon Poland by the British, American and Russian governments so it didn’t matter if you were Jewish, Polish, German, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Belarussian etc etc etc if you owned property the government took it from you without compensation. Of course, also bear in mind, many people lost property when the Germans invaded so it wasn’t just the Russian controlled communist government that was responsible for the situation in post war Poland.

      Recently a delegation from Israel has been to Poland to discuss this issue. What I find two faced about this is that a country that has stolen property from Palestinians and refuses to hand that property back is going to Poland to complain about Jews not being given their property back. Maybe Poland should compensate the Palestinians on behalf of Israel by giving them property in Poland? :)

      Reply
  • March 25, 2013 at 6:05 am
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    I say what restitution law exists in Israel? In fact there a law of No Return. Palestinians were forced out and never compensated. Today their homes are raised.. bull dozed by the Israelis.

    In either event the article states it simple.. “Like millions of others, they suffered the depredations of the Nazi invaders and then, when the war was over, the surviving members of the family left Poland for good. The building at ul. Józefa 1, like tens of thousands across the country, was simply abandoned.”

    SIMPLY ABANDONED ! Millions of Poles died and Million more suffered and rebuilt their lives and THEIR country. They abandoned it. So 70 years later you do not return, having done NOTHING to suffer, soil and sweat to rebuild your nation and expect to get it back. Have you paid 70 years of property tax on it? Have you paid for the re-building of the nation during that time? When you ABANDONED it the property value was near zero. ZERO as the value of millions of properties in Poland were at that time. But now 70 years later you want compensation for a property of a country rebuilt and prosperous. With that reasoning MILLIONS of Poles should be able to reclaim those properties they had to abandon when destroyed but now rebuilt and Million more should be able to reclaim properties they sold after the war and during the communism drove prices down. By your reasoning everyone of them should be compensated at today’s full market value.

    Much was lost by Poles during the war.. have I been compensated for my Grandparent’s auto? their silver ware? their lost salary? their paintings? bedding and linen AND THEIR LIVES when executed in Auschwitz?

    NO! and why? Because they were NOT Jewish? Oh to say that you are anti-semitic and to that I say nice try. I call you anti-Polish. I state to you as simply as the article states… YOU simply abandoned it.

    Reply
  • April 3, 2013 at 12:20 am
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    To Marcus and the anti semites of Poland.
    These properties were not abandoned! They were left behind by force, when their occupants( owners) were first hoarded into the polish ghettos, then sent to oswiecim, treblinka, and the other death camps, which make Poland, a blood soaked country.
    I know this firsthand, since as a child of survivors, I had to go there and do research on these homes, and filmed the occupants, who ( even now) have the hatred their grandparents had.
    They are weaned breaks feeding on hatred for the Jews.
    Do not bring up, 60 or 70 years later, the commies then raped the same homes, so that it is a double steal going on.
    The Allmighty will take care of any country, it’s people which refuse to do the right thing.
    Wonder why blasted Hungary, poor Romania and the other eastern european countries are doing so badly?
    The Jewish smart heads are no longer there!

    Reply
    • September 13, 2013 at 3:36 am
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      Who created the ghettoes? Was it not the invading Germans who created the ghettoes?

      Reply
    • March 18, 2014 at 11:40 pm
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      Dear “From far away we laugh” –

      I find your nick “From far away we laugh” to be out of place!

      Reply
    • July 25, 2014 at 4:41 am
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      the allmighty? There is only one B-g – the Polish One. It is because you cling to ancient superstitions that you fail.

      Come join the Polish Nation – marry a Pole and your children will be Polish and will inherit all the fruits of the Polish Nation.

      Reply
    • November 5, 2014 at 11:24 pm
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      From Far Away: FYI, there were no “Polish ghettos.” Before the German invasion, there were no restrictions in Poland on where Jews could live. The ghettos and camps were established by the Germans on Polish territory they invaded, occupied and plundered. The first victims of the camps were Polish Christians (including my relatives). And spare me the canard that the camps were in occupied Poland because the Poles wouldn’t object. Oh, and the land is also soaked by the blood of millions of Polish Christians. Engaging in such wanton stereotyping makes you no better than those you criticize. Learn some history and stop spouting hatred.

      Reply
  • September 18, 2013 at 7:32 pm
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    I can only say help is on the way. After the conferences had been stopped,
    individuals started to create a solution in Restitution of Jewish lands in Europe.
    It is the big time of volunteers now.

    We should never forget the House of Europe is built on unrestituted
    Jewish lands.

    Reply
    • September 18, 2013 at 9:16 pm
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      And we should never forget that the House of Israel is built on stolen Palestinian land :)

      Reply
      • July 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm
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        bull – you start a war, you lose a war, you lose land or do you think Western Poland is built on “German: land

        Reply
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  • February 16, 2014 at 2:26 am
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    I don’t think it is easy. I own property in England and would ecpect if I was killed and my property expropriated, that 70 years later my grandchildren could claim back my property. If my property was expropriated by King Henry 8th ( 15th century) and then sold on, eventually to me, should the pre Henry 8th owner’s descendants be able to claim back. I guess we have to draw a line.. but where?

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    • February 16, 2014 at 3:00 am
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      Shannon – I do not disagree. Shrewd as he was, Henry VIII would be regarded today as a serial wife killer, not a figure to follow. His cynical expropriations would not stand scrutiny of an independent court (outside of UK, of course, the best place might be Ireland). His singular achievement was to father Elizabeth I.

      Reply
  • March 10, 2014 at 10:10 pm
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    Our family were Nobles from Poland who had several castles, these were turned over by Russia in about 1911, they never contacted the family who had fled over-seas, what about Due-Diligence and obligations to the children that were orphaned in the new world due to the influenza they are not entitled to have anything because of peoples beliefs here?. Now there was also a large family business which was destroyed in WWII and our family was slaughtered in the Ghetto and the Katyn Forest Massacre, we were Polish — I believe that the lands should be returned to the descendants because of the suffering…!

    Our Chapter survived and we BELIVE the law should extend to the child/ grandchildren.

    –Signed a Polish descendant (our family had a historic Jewish name but the culture was lost due to becoming orphans)

    Reply
    • March 15, 2014 at 5:17 pm
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      Dear Wondering –

      Actually I am involved in recovery of expropriated property. Still I try to take balanced view.

      No legal system (system administering justice in any country) that I am aware of makes an effort to seek heirs. The rule is that if there are no heirs the property goes to … the state. Nothing unique here about the Polish system.

      Of course, the crimes of the Nazis and Communists require this rule to be tempered. And I have some ideas on this. But if a person stands to inherit a large estate, as you suggest your family does, should you not be the ones making a big effort in the matter?

      You say that your “family were Nobles from Poland who had several castles, these were turned over by Russia in about 1911.” If your words are accurate, than almost certainly your ancestors were Polish patriots whose estates were confiscated by the Tsarist government, probably as punishment for participating in the uprisings of 1831, 1863 and /or 1905. Some estates were returned as the Tsarist system was mellowing just prior to WWI. This this may have been the case with your family around 1911, the year you mention.

      You also say that your family had “a large family business which was destroyed in WWII.” As you know, the land was not destroyed. And perhaps some building survived, too.

      Actually, depending on who in your family exactly inherits it, you may be able to recover it or obtain an indemnification for it. To this date, Poles who are catholics and live in Poland, are recovering some confiscated properties as are descendants (heirs) of Polish Jews, who live mainly abroad.

      Much work is required and sometimes it is worthwhile. It depends. Of course, the successful beneficiaries have to pay succession tax.

      I should add that the Polish government has put unfair obstacles in the path of all claimants, but with skill and effort often they can be overcome.

      You can contact me for a free consult. Alex Wolf 302-351-6200 or awolf@alex-wolf.com

      Reply
  • June 20, 2014 at 12:57 pm
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    Real Estate Laws are such, that land alway’s runs with inherited law’s. Time should not be a factor in this case. These were Polish citizens, that owned Polish land. Plain and simply said,give it back to them. The families are the rightful owners. FYI: Poland helped more of their Jewish brothers & sisters more than any other country per capita. As far as Israel giving the Palastians, their land back. Do the history, it was never their land. Agreed the Native Americans should by all means have their lands returned as well.

    Reply
  • June 30, 2014 at 1:30 pm
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    My paternal grandparents were Belarusian Jews who lived under Russian then Polish occupation. I an the first in my extended family to visit there last month.

    I did enquire with Belarusian government affiliated lawyers about permanent residency and restitution but was told that Belarus does not have any laws regarding restitution of property not does it grant citizenship to grandchildren of its citizens.

    As a marxist I an not sympathetic to the claims of a descendant of a capitalist. Such property should be given to the workers and peasants of Poland and to working class Jews.

    Part of my family were likely the capitalists of Nesvitz Belarus and owned a department store. I would not claim such property.

    I would claim damages from my grandmother’s house that was burned down in the course of the rebellion and murder of the last 700 Jews of Nesvitz. However since the house no longer exists and since Belarus is a small poor country that bravely resisted the fascists at a terrible price and since Germany is a rich imperialist country with a murderous past I will try to apply to Germany for restitution.

    Reply
  • July 12, 2014 at 10:17 am
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    I live in Krakow for the last two years… Polish citizens also can’t get their properties back…this is a very long process. Not only Jews. American Jews are coming here to claim renovated properties just to make money. They don’t stay here and I don’t believe that this is only sentimental approach to the place where their families lived. As Krakow is a very busy touristic place they want to open hotels and restaurants in the city centre and leave people who lived there for 2 generations homeless. It is not gonna happen. Germans left their eastern lands to Poland… Poland left eastern lands to Ukraine ect. If we all start claiming we will end up in a big mess and huge conflicts. This is what the Jew claims do….just materialistic thinking.

    Reply
    • July 12, 2014 at 4:12 pm
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      Hello Cracovian –

      You are correct that properties of Roman-Catholic Poles have been taken away from them also, and that they also want it back and faces big difficulties in the process.

      But beyond that your prejudices show through. Contrary to what you imply, all people who want their property back are motivated by materialism, at least mainly. All people who want a salary raise also are motivated by materialism, at least mainly.

      Reply
      • July 12, 2014 at 8:14 pm
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        Well….Polish aristocratic families reclaim their properties and come back from abroad to live here…where their roots are. Only Catholic Church is so lucky with the claims. Unfortunately they have taken back schools buildings, hospitals, filharmonies ect…. This is all politics …,

        Reply
        • July 25, 2014 at 4:37 am
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          The nobles should have to prove their Polishness and that they acquired the land legally

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          • July 25, 2014 at 4:43 pm
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            Mr. Bobrowski’s ideas are on a pattern of Nazi Nurenberg Laws. The Nazis checked how Aryan Germans were back to 1800 or so.

          • July 25, 2014 at 10:05 pm
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            1750 for the SS – but close enough.

            Do you believe that foreign nobles should own property in Poland? Just because they are (or really were) “nobles”?

    • July 12, 2014 at 9:39 pm
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      To talk of all Jews as materialistic in this matter is a but harsh. I own properties in London. If they were wrongly confiscated, I would expect my children to be able to claim them back. My great grandchildren, no. My grandchildren’s entitlement is debatable ( unless you have the anarchist belief that “all property is theft”).

      Reply
      • July 25, 2014 at 4:38 am
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        A “but” harsh?

        Putting that aside, it is clearly anti-semitic. Talking about ALL anything is bad because it stereotypes.

        Reply
  • July 12, 2014 at 10:57 pm
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    Private property is based on exploitation and is theft, as a non-Jewish Jew who reached the pinnacle of enlightment thinking once pointed out. Personal property on the other hand, is not alienable. Personal property (ie houses) that were stolen should return to those who plan to live in them. Polish workers are right in denying private property to Jewish capitalists. However, morally they should be denying private property to the church and to christian capitalists first, in the interests of internationalism. Otherwise, your complaints smell of anti-semitism.

    Moreso than the mostly impovershed citizens of the former Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries, I would like to see the imperialists pay reparations to the Jews, Roma and other nationalities that lost personal property or had family that were murdered. They are ultimately responsible for the war, persecutions, genocides, etc. Germany, England, the U.S. etc. The fourteen countries that conspired to invade the Soviet Republic in 1918 and encouraged the fascists after that.

    “The Christian catechism teaches that the church is a society of the faithful who are united by a common creed, by the sacraments, etc. For the communist, the church is a society of persons who are united by definite sources of income at the cost of the faithful, at the cost of their ignorance and lack of true culture. It is a society united with the society of other exploiters such as the landlords and the capitalists, united with their State, assisting that State in the oppression of the workers, and reciprocally receiving from the State help in the business of oppression. The union between church and State is of great antiquity. The association between the church and the feudalist State of the landowners was exceedingly intimate. ”

    -Preobrazhensky

    Reply
    • July 13, 2014 at 12:33 am
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      Wow! The Comrades are coming out of the woodwork …

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    • July 25, 2014 at 4:34 am
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      wow you ARE REALLY NUTS!

      All property in Poland belongs to the Polish people BUT it is PRIVATE property, my friend.

      Reply
  • July 13, 2014 at 12:26 am
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    I have nothing to do with anti-semitism. I would say the same if German, Russian ect…would like to reclaim their properties after two generations. German also tried in Western Poland but they were unsuccessful. The properties were confiscated by the communists, many of them were Jewish after WW2. That’s the facts. Also now many politicians have Jewish roots but they don’t want reclaims to go through. It is nothing to do with any nation….

    Reply
  • July 13, 2014 at 12:57 am
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    Most Jews who were murdered by the capitalists were communists or bund. Don’t you think it is more fitting to honor their memory by reclaiming personal property for the survivors instead of trying to take private property from the survivors of the destruction of the workers states? I do.

    Reply
  • July 13, 2014 at 1:08 am
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    Fair enough about the Sudetenland Deutschen etc. If they had personal property stolen, and they were not compensated, they shoud be compensated. What some capitalist politician thinks about compensation, Jewish or not, is of little concern to me. However, can Belarus etc spare the compensation, to what extent are they impoverished by WW2, the seige and destruction of the USSR etc? If they are too poor, then the imperialist aggressors should pay. Parenthetically, the World Claims Conference on the Jewish side sounds thoroughly dirty- obscene expense accounts, stonewalling elderly survivors to not pay out restitution, etc. With those kind of people, Comrade Dzerzhinskii had the right idea…..

    Reply
  • July 13, 2014 at 1:13 am
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    The law doesn’t say anything about Jewish. All nations are the same, polish citizen can’t get the personal properties back as well. The Catholic Church does … And this is also not right.

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  • July 13, 2014 at 1:28 am
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    Well, there’s your problem: the Poles need to form up another Left party to return personal property and demand restitution from the imperialist nations.

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  • July 17, 2014 at 4:15 pm
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    I have noticed that some of you here have double standards. Unfortunately.
    Jews want to reclaim their properties after 70 years and the same time they act like fascist in Palestine killing innocent people and takling over their houses. Will they give back all Arab personal properties to their legal owners?

    Reply
    • July 17, 2014 at 4:58 pm
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      I do not see the link between a heir of Polish Jew who wants to reclaim his grandfather’s property in Poland and whatever happens in Palestine or Israel, which involves other Jews, not to mention “peace loving” Arabs. I asked a Jewish friend to explain this link to me. He said I will not get it, unless I become an anti-Semite.

      Reply
      • July 18, 2014 at 2:18 am
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        Ah the predatory lawyer trots out the anti Semite accusations in order to try and suppress all criticism of Israeli/Jewish actions and policy in Palestine.

        I am afraid that London has a valid point because Israeli/Jewish invaders have been dispossessing Palestinians of their land and property in Palestine for decades. Who knows, we could have a situation where a relative of a Holocaust survivor is today sitting in property in Israel that was sequestered from its previous Palestinian owners, without a penny of compensation being paid and no right of return for those people, and is also trying to reclaim property in Poland with the excuse of it belonging to a long deceased relative and he’s entitled to it. Quid pro quo Alex, quid pro quo!

        Reply
        • July 18, 2014 at 2:45 am
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          Stan – You really need to have some sense knocked into you. Gdzie Rzym a gdzie Krym? I hope you receive such help before you go bonkers completely.

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          • July 18, 2014 at 11:41 am
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            Nothing wrong with my sense at all Alex. I’m not restricted by blinkered hypocrisy and prejudice. I look at things from both sides and see things in the round. Nice attempt at trying to question my mentality though seeing as you know an attempt at an anti Semitic slur against me wouldn’t shut me up but neither will your latest tactic.

          • July 25, 2014 at 4:35 am
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            “some sense knocked into you” – nice, violent much?

          • July 25, 2014 at 10:16 pm
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            Alex – are you sure you are Polish or Jewish? I don’t know any Polish or Jewish people who would claim:

            “… Lithuania, however, is a a racist, xenophobic little place. Under Lithuanian law only persons who have Lithuanian citizenship can reclaim properties. They use that excuse to rob equally Polish Catholics and Polish Jews.”

            or that would put “peaceful Arabs” in quotation marks.

            We all get along just fine – are you a paid provocateur?

  • August 4, 2014 at 2:12 pm
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    Please help: I am searching for a documentary I saw about 7-10 years ago about an American survivor (happy father and grandfather) who visited his childhood home in a small town in Poland. They didn’t let him in, saying “I knew they would come back for the hidden treasure”. After a film crew revisited the town beautifully renovated from EU funds, the building stood there abandoned and almost demolished, as the owner became obsessed with finding the Jews’ family treasure somewhere in the garden or the walls and gradually demolished the house in the center of the town.

    Reply
    • September 17, 2016 at 11:23 pm
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      Hi JBA, that sounds like a scene from the 2005 BBC documentary: Auschwitz: the Nazis and the ‘Final Solution’. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  • August 10, 2014 at 9:23 am
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    Never heard about such a story. In Europe we are completely discussed about luck of knowledge about our history especially in America and being accused for things never happened here. One of the examples is Polish Concentration Camps…. No German fascist ? No supprise that Jewish trips from Izrael and America are coming here with guards with kolashnikows and walking like this on the streets among thousands of tourists from other country…. There were some horrible accidents ….but please learn some history….how many Poles died hiding Jewish families…and how they lived together for centuries while any other European country was that tolerant….

    Reply
  • August 20, 2014 at 4:46 pm
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    I totally agree with Cracovian.

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  • November 5, 2014 at 12:12 am
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    This is huge issue, 80% of the owners died in the holocost, 50% did not left any relatives…
    Why Poland shoud give this properties to “Jawish community”, it was owned by polish citizen(no matter Jewish or not) No relatives? Country owns it – normal thing.
    Someone was taking care for this property for 70yers – who will pay for this?
    Second issue why Poland should give any thing to non polish citizen?? We don’t have any bussines in this.
    Issue nr. 3 communistic rule nacionalized in 50s all land owners – we can’t do exception, we need to give it back too. Country can’t afford that.

    “You think you have any rights to any property? Go to court. If you win, you will get it back.” D. Tusk
    Thats the only fair and possible solution – no promisses.

    Cheers

    Reply
  • November 28, 2014 at 8:14 am
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    I am the grandchild of catholic polish farmers who lived near Krakow. The whole family was kicked off their land. My grandfather was a well known horse breeder and trainer, the Russians took possession of these. My grandparents died in cattle trucks. The children ended up in Siberia and escaped through the Gulf. The farm is still there in Krakow. It was taken from us and much more. If something has been stolen, it should be returned.

    So far, reading all these statements, I feel sad to see what appears a lot of the same sentiments still alive that were around in WW2 …have we NOT LEARNED YET TO GET ALONG? jews, poles, the borders get changed every time we have a war so in 500 years time who knows what “nationality” we might be even if don’t move an inch. Everyone needs to grow up. Yes restitution does need to be made to people whos assets were stolen….but I wish the hatred would stop, it’s what caused all this trouble in the first place…….pure hatred of each other.

    Reply
    • November 28, 2014 at 8:26 am
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      My whole culture was lost. I am trying to retrieve it and found this blog!. I am having huge problems finding out the origins of my mothers family who I mentioned before. Her maiden name was Jendracha in Krakow rural district, the family was not Jewish and were forced to vacate their farm. Russians used my grandfather for his knowledge with horses apparently he was a well known breeder and trainer. Can anyone help. My mother was orphaned aged four and feels such a loss not knowing her mothers face or anything about the family origins. Jendracha is an unusual polish surname..without the ski on the end…can anyone help?

      Reply
  • December 11, 2014 at 11:52 pm
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    How about a family that moved aftet the war in one of those houses and have spend lots of money to maintaine it and refurbish it? Who is going to compensate them?

    Reply
    • January 21, 2015 at 3:07 pm
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      I’ve had some association for some years now. I went to Poland because I had polish ancestry. Polish people who followed the Jewish Tradition, but in Poland these people are not Polish but Juda. I tried to find a copy of my grandmothers birth certificate. When I went to SANOK POLAND, I was shocked to find that there is still a separate book for registered people of the Jewish Faith and those considered Polish (Catholics). Very disappointing and sickening to witness this blatant and obvious racist mentality. But even more disgraceful that from 1895 to 1915 in the book that I looked in with my own eyes, there were no births of Polish people of the Jewish Tradition. I cannot believe that this was the case. My family migrated from records that I did manage to find in the 1900’s to Austria for safety, which by 1939 were still hunted by Nazi’s and one who ended up in DACHAU, which I have seen and was a horrible place. The whole family had to FLEE for their lives from Poland, which at that time had no NAZI’s.

      Anyone in Poland who says that they helped the Jewish people during the Nazi invasion in my opinion were holding those people for ransom and also to pilage them, from the mentallity and attitude of the what would appear to be the mainstream Pole of today, that I have experienced and seen for myself.

      I have two children in Poland. Which after separation from their mother have been given NIL support from the Polish Judiciary and the cases have been staled for over two years.

      I bought and paid for a house in Poland. I had a polish solicitor present with the notary who prepared the sales agreement and I was assured I would have no problem getting the deed that needed to be approved by the minister of interior. Two years later, I have no deed or decision from the Minister’s office. The lawyer has absconded. I have had several polish lawyers all of whom require payment and then do nothing.

      In twelve years of associating with Poland I have come to the conclusion that Polish People are selfish and only know how to take and give nothing. The mentality of the people is low. The women are mostly slu ts even though they claim to be devote Catholics, the men are cowards and only fight behind your back or with gangs of friends. I have been defamed from all avenues, in all attempts to treat the people with respect, with the sole intention of doing so that the atrocities that were done to me could be justified, but the perpetrators, these and my experiences there, and has been over all disappointing to say the least. I have never seen dishonesty and curuption at this level anywhere else in the world and this includes third world nations in the carribean. They complain about their financial situation but anyone who has ever done business there can attest that this is of their own volition.

      In reading the article that led to this while looking for a Jewish Friendly solicitor to help me with my struggles there, I note the following.

      He was fighting for 23 years from 2011. The properties in question I would say was only taken approx 50 years before he started his petition. I knew a person living in one of these buildings in Krakow and in conversation they were telling of their attempts in 2014 to buy the flat they were living in from the council. But at the same time were showing me the exact location that the family that owned that very building was shot in the courtyard. When I told them I had Jewish ancestory, the relationship ended.

      The people who lived and refurbished these buildings and got practically free accomadations and had to pay their own greedy Polish opressors should not complain because they have to go, but should be grateful for the time they had there. There are alot of new blocks being built in Poland daily, Go buy one of those flats and then the occupants could appreciate the fact that they owned their own home build by “Polish” people. And I would ask those same people that if they have children would not want their own children to be able to benifit from their efforts today 70 years from now.

      The Polish people I have met today have no shame and no consciousness. I have two children living in that country and pray that genetically they will be able to overcome the low level of humanity that they will have to endure and learn there.

      I feel any attempt to reclaim anything from the war is a waste of effort. As Poland for the past 200 years has been controlled by foriegn governments, because they are unable to conduct themselves as human beings, be it west or east who have controlled them. They are like rats with more of their bloodlines be it Jewish or Catholic, as they still see this as making humans different, live abroad. AS in the UK in this present day. They have migrated their like rats on cheese because of the economic climate. I don’t see them going to places like Bulgaria or Turkey. Their economy has grown with the exact decline in the GDP of England. Parasites to the world.

      My opinion an let it be heard is to sanction them. All business and people in power should continue to surpress them financially until they start to finally see that they cannot survive unless they come on a world forum. It is shameful that the Courts in Brussels have to pass laws to force them to observe equal rights of all people and business. Obviously they do not have the capacity to function as people of a free society.

      This is my report after 12 years of experience and interaction with this, what I even cringe to call a society.

      And be it, I would say most of the good things that have come out of Poland came from the people of Jewish heritage.

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      • January 27, 2015 at 4:06 pm
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        “Cuba’s”: post is completely unjust and factually incorrect.

        I think the person calling himself “Cuba” has a mental fixation against Poland, a huge hate that can not be rationally dealt with, so I am writing now to others, not to him.

        He writes that Polish men are cowards and Polish women sluts, and that Poles are like rats. Wow! This is hate propaganda, a criminal offence and he should be charged with it. He should do jail time for it!

        BTW, my late aunt saved some Jewish people from the Nazis. They emigrated subsequently from Poland and wanted to arrange for her from Israel a Medal for Just Gentiles (I may have the name of it wrong) in the 1970s. She wrote them that she did not want it. At that time her husband was an doctor in the Polish Army (then still Communist), and such medal at that time could have caused them great problems.

        This “Cuba” person spits on memory of people such as my aunt or as Jan Karski.

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        • January 27, 2015 at 6:03 pm
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          I forgot to add that I and persons I work with (such as competent Polish attorneys), as well as other persons I know of, have recovered properties for various clients in Poland – some of these clients are Jewish, others are not.

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          • February 6, 2015 at 3:29 pm
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            Mr. Wolf. As I said in my post you exemplify exactly what I described.

            How many of these cases has your firm or anybody you know done on a pro bono basis for the good of mankind?

            Here is a man claiming to do good by Jewish people in Poland, for a price. At least if one good thing I hope you all recognize is the proper description of someone the Jewish Faith is Jewish. NOT JEW, which is insulting, in case your pork brains didn’t get it. At least now after representing so many Jewish people he understands that.

            As I said. You go to Poland and at the end of any dealings with these leaches you will lose even if you get what you want because the cost to do it will always be more than what you are working at. They find a way to use extortion in every way to take advantage of someones good nature.

            And yes, I do have a huge problem with Poland and the Polish people. I experienced the brunt of their racism in the 21 century post the Berlin wall coming down and from MY experience, I know these people have no clue of what real civility is. As many in the west I know describe them as selfish.

          • February 6, 2015 at 5:41 pm
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            I will reply briefly again to that Poland-hater “Cuba”.

            Notably, one of the key characteristics of anti-Semites is that they project something bad that some Jewish persons did (or allegedly did) on all the Jews. Remarkably, “Cuba” learned from them. He projects something bad that some Poles did (or allegedly did) on all the Poles. He would have made a great anti-Semite.

            To other Polish people who read his ugly posts (he wrote above that Polish men are cowards, Polish women sluts, and that Poles are like rats) I wish to remind that Jewish people at large are not responsible for “Cuba”.

  • May 16, 2015 at 12:11 pm
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    Cuba…you are discusting. I hope your children are not the same as you. I wouldn’t stand to have someone like you as a neighbour. And I can guarantee that thanks to your stupid opinions your children will feel ashamed of you…For some reason they want to live in Poland…among Polish people….

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  • June 13, 2015 at 2:12 pm
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    If you buy it it’s yours, if you walk into it and take possession of it you’re a thief, give it back, no matter how long you are there you know it’s not yours.

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    • June 15, 2015 at 8:42 pm
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      What if the state or the current owner of the building has spent tens or hundreds of thousands of zloty repairing, renovating or rebuilding a badly damaged building and the “rightful owners” have spent zero, should that building be handed over in its fully renovated state without the “rightful owner” paying a single grosz towards the work carried out?

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      • June 15, 2015 at 11:09 pm
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        First of all, claimants have no legal recourse against a purchaser in good faith. Their recourse is only against the party who took their property – if the taking was for some reason illegal.

        Secondly the value of real estate derives from the net income it generates or can generate. Therefore, to consider alone the expense, as Stan suggests, or alone the rent is not valid.

        Lastly, it is incorrect to speak of reclaiming Jewish property in Poland as if it were a special Jewish problem. Catholic Poles have the same legal issues in claiming nationalized family property.

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        • June 16, 2015 at 2:30 am
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          So what you’re saying is if a claimant can prove, the state for example, took a property illegally then no matter how much money was spent renovating it then the property has to be handed over without the claimant making any kind of financial contribution towards the renovation costs?

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          • June 16, 2015 at 2:45 am
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            Stan – Heck, No!

            If the State Treasury took the property illegally, still holds it and has to return it, that does not mean its investment in the property will not be compensated.

            In fact, when such investment is very large in relation to the value of the land — as is generally the case in Warsaw, where most of the buildings were destroyed in WW2 and the government paid for new buildings erected in place of the destroyed buildings — the old owner or his heirs receive only the compensation for the value of the land.

          • June 16, 2015 at 3:21 am
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            OK, thanks for clearing that up. However is it not still a bit contentious that the current Polish state has to pay out compensation to people, even ethnic Poles, for buildings destroyed during wartime when nearly every insurance company that I know of here in the UK will not indemnify you for loss during acts of terrorism or war, or even what they call Acts of God? After all it was Germany & Russia that waged war on Polish soil against each other and also on Poland. Surely these countries should have liability for the compensation owed to heirs for any loss of property or ownership?

          • June 16, 2015 at 3:30 am
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            Stan – where did you get that story that the Polish State paid or has to pay compensation to anyone for buildings destroyed during war activities? It simply is not true.

  • November 10, 2015 at 9:53 am
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    It’s curious that not only Jews, but the very Poles ‘are also active in reclaiming properties left by their ancestors & countrymen in present-day Ukraine’, for instance! According to their claims Ukrainians should pay compensation for stolen lands, too. And return of their properties in Western Ukraine is already in Poland’s agenda. The explanation why Warsaw avoids aiding the restoration lawsuits against Ukraine now is here
    http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1280446

    Reply

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