(JTA) — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raised the issue of Holocaust-era property restitution during his first official visit to Poland.
Poland is the only country in the European Union that has not passed comprehensive national legislation to return, or provide compensation for, private property confiscated by the Nazis or nationalized by the communist regime.
At a joint appearance Wednesday in Warsaw with the Polish minister of foreign affairs, Pompeo praised the U.S.-Poland relationship and the “indomitable Polish spirit.”
He also saluted Polish Jewish partisan Frank Blaichman, who immigrated to the United States after World War II and became a prosperous real estate developer in New York. Blaichman, who died in late December at 96, was “a testament to the resilience of the Polish people, Pompeo said.
As part of his remarks, Pompeo called on the Polish government to resolve outstanding restitution issues.
“We also appreciate the importance of resolving outstanding issues of the past, and I urge my Polish colleagues to move forward with comprehensive private property restitution legislation for those who lost property during the Holocaust era,” he said.
Gideon Taylor, chair of operations for the World Jewish Restitution Organization, said he welcomed Pompeo’s “expression of his commitment to securing justice for Holocaust survivors and their families. This is a powerful affirmation of the importance of this issue to the United States.”