Ombudsman Tackles WWII Deportation Compensation in Constitutional Tribunal

The Polish Press Agency (PAP) reports the matter has been taken to the Constitutional Tribunal by Janusz Kochanwoski. According to the Ombudsman granting compensation for those who were forced into Nazi or Soviet labor camps cannot be made dependent upon whether the transportation was made out of Poland’s then official borders (in existence before Sept. 1, 1939), as the 1996 provision expresses.

The current provision allows for compensation to be given if the following conditions are met: forced labor had to last for at least 6 months, those who were transported were taken out of Poland’s then official borders (in existence before Sept. 1, 1939), forced labor was carried out on Nazi territory between 1939 and 1945, or on Soviet territory or Soviet occupied territory between Sept. 17, 1939 to Feb. 5, 1945.

If transportations were carried out after this period and until 1948, the transportations had to be made within Poland’s currently existing borders.

This provision according to Kochanowski is not only discriminatory for those who have been deported, but it also breaches fundamental notions of justice. The Ombudsman claims this provision has led to an “arbitrary differentiation of persons who were victims of a particular type of repression.” Many have been refused compensation on the grounds that the forced labor they carried out was on Polish territory within the official borders in existence before Sept. 1, 1939.

Kochanowski argues this is an unjust treatment of persons who were deported and found in the same forced labor situation, yet deprived of compensation due to the area on which the forced labor was carried out.

The Ombudsman argues the legislator drafted a provision that is in effect in breach of constitutional principles of equality and justice. The result of this provision is a refusal of compensation for a large part of the deportees.

WWII saw some 2.8 mln persons transported by Nazis out of Poland to forced labor camps on Nazi occupied territory. Between 1939 and 1941 around 400,000 Polish citizens were transported East during the Soviet occupation. Further tens of thousands of persons were deported to Soviet Russia after the Red Army entered Poland in 1944.

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