Poland: Property

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 12th February 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Deech Baroness Deech Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent discussions they have had with representatives of the government of Poland about the restitution of property seized from Polish Jewish citizens during the period of Nazi occupation; and what was the outcome of any such discussions.

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK continues to meet its commitments under the Terezin declaration.

HMG have been in regular discussions with the Polish Government about the restitution of property seized during the Nazi occupation. As the Minister for the European Neighbourhood and Americas noted in the House in July 2020, the British Ambassador to Poland has raised our concerns with the Polish Foreign Minister and the Speaker of the Polish Parliament. Lord Pickles, the UK's Special Envoy for post-Holocaust Issues, and the Minister for the European Neighbourhood and Americas have also engaged the Polish Government on this sensitive issue since it was last discussed in the House.

We regret that, despite this, the Polish Senate passed legislation in September 2020 which may make property restitution more difficult for some claimants in Warsaw. The UK will continue to take a strong stand on the issue of property restitution, in line with our unwavering commitment to supporting Holocaust survivors. Working with like-minded partners and the World Jewish Restitution Organisation (WJRO), the FCDO will continue to urge Poland to introduce comprehensive national legislation to deal with Holocaust-era property restitution.

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