Poland restitution law risks ‘severe damage’ to relations with Israel

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Poland restitution law risks ‘severe damage’ to relations with Israel

Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid warns plans for 30-year time limit to challenge flawed decisions would deny justice to Holocaust victims

Michael Daventry is Jewish News’s foreign and broadcast editor

Sejm Meeting Hall

(Wikipedia/ The Chancellery of the Senate of the Republic of Poland / Source	Senat Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej/
Author	Katarzyna Czerwińska)
Sejm Meeting Hall (Wikipedia/ The Chancellery of the Senate of the Republic of Poland / Source Senat Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej/ Author Katarzyna Czerwińska)

Poland’s relations with Israel will be damaged “severely”, Yair Lapid has said, if it adopts a law that would prevent Jewish claims for compensation or property seized during the Holocaust.

The Israeli foreign minister issued the warning after the changes moved a step closer to adoption after they were approved by the Polish Senate last week.

Polish officials want to place a time limit on the period during which flawed administrative decisions, including property ownership, can be challenged.

If adopted, the bill would prevent such decisions from being declared void after 30 years.

Poland was home to Europe’s largest Jewish community before the Second World War.

It has returned or offered compensation for some property seized from Jewish communities, but it is the only country in Europe not to have done the same for private property.

The proposed 30-year-limit means bill would also prevent restitution claims relating to Poland’s Communist era.

Lapid said on Friday: “We are following with great concern the progress of the legislative process in Poland regarding the right of restitution of property stolen from Holocaust victims.

“Every step in the progress of legislation is a serious development in our eyes. We will not give up on stubbornly standing up for the dignity of Holocaust victims, preserving their memory and rights.”

After being approved in the Senate, the bill returns to the lower House of Representatives for the approval of amendments. If it passes, it requires only President Andrzej Duda’s signature to become law.

Gideon Taylor of the World Jewish Restitution Organisation said the lower chamber should “reject the bill in its entirety.”

He told the Associated Press that Poland must “once and for all settle the issue of private property by adopting comprehensive restitution legislation.

“As the remaining Holocaust survivors get older, they deserve a measure of justice in their lifetime.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: