Polish PM backs compensation

Poland’s prime minister made his first statement in support of compensation for property stolen by the Nazis and the communist regime.Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who took office in July, met Wednesday with representatives of the Claims Conference and the World Jewish Restitution Organization in Warsaw who have joined forces with non-Jewish Polish groups to press for a law on compensation or restitution.Kaczynski said passing a law that would compensate property owners, including Jewish property owners and their heirs, “was important for the government, urgent, and he would do everything possible to have legislation passed by the end of year,” Claims Conference Executive Vice President Gideon Taylor said.The proposal the prime minister has backed would provide 15 percent of the current value of property. While Kaczynski emphasized that compensation would be financially painful for Poland, Taylor said, “we indicated that 15 percent was not something the Jewish world considered fair or acceptable.”Jewish claims are expected to amount to up to 20 percent of the potential $23.7 billion in nationalized property in Poland, a figure indicating value, not the amount that would actually be paid out.Taylor said a key concern was making claim procedures easy for those living overseas.

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