Polish Israelis Slam Halt of Holocaust Restitution Plans

Polish Prime Minister freezes work on law to compensate Jews for WWII-era properties due to current economic crisis.

An association of Israelis of Polish descent has slammed Warsaw's decision to suspend plans to offer compensation for property seized during the Nazi and communist eras.

The association head, Lili Haber, says the decision is unacceptable and an insult to Holocaust survivors.

poland - Reuters - March 25 2011

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk last week suspended work on a law that would have given some compensation to former owners of lost property. Tusk cited the current economic crisis.

Haber on Monday called Tusk to reverse his decision and correct the dispossession of the Jewish people on Polish soil.

Poland says only about 15 percent of the property once belonged to Jews. The issue is straining relations between Jewish groups and Poland, which was home to 3.5 million Jews before Word War II.

Poland is considered to be one of Israel's staunchest allies in the international arena. One month ago, a large delegation of the Polish government, which included Prime Minister Tusk and foreign and defense ministers, arrived in Israel to officially launch a joint governmental forum between the two countries.

Until now, Israel has conducted such high-level dialogues only with Germany and Italy, while Poland has only maintained relations at this level with Germany and France.