Polish anti-restitution activists rail against ‘Holocaust hyenas’ at march


(JTA) – Hundreds of protesters against Holocaust restitution in Poland marched through Warsaw.

The protest Saturday, which began outside the U.S. embassy and moved to the prime minister’s office, featured signs calling claimants “Holocaust hyenas.” Another slogan heard was “stop the Jewish claims,” Gazeta Wyborcza reported.

The far-right National Radical Camp movement, known in Poland as ONR, had a significant presence at the rally, according to Gazeta Wyborcza.

The march was over the passing last year of a law, which President Donald Trump signed, called the Justice for Uncompensated Survivors Today Act.

The measure requires the State Department to report on how certain European countries have progressed in returning wrongfully confiscated or transferred Holocaust-era assets. It does not mention Poland which is the only European country that has not passed laws to compensate for private-owned property lost during World War II.

The nationalist Law and Justice government has said that as a victim in World War II Poland should not be saddled with any financial obligations, Reuters reported.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki repeated that message at an election rally in the northern town of Mlawa on Saturday, state run news agency PAP reported.

“We will not allow any damages to be paid to anyone because it is us who should get damages,” PAP quoted him as saying.

“Poland is the only country in the European Union that has not passed comprehensive legislation for restitution or compensation for looted or nationalized property. Property that belonged to Jewish Holocaust victims and their families was confiscated by the Polish Communist authorities after the war along with that of non-Jews, property that continues to benefit the Polish economy. We urge Poland to address this historical injustice,” Gideon Taylor, chair of Operation, World Jewish Restitution Organization, told JTA.

Poland will hold European parliament elections on May 26. Elections for its own parliament will take place in the autumn.

Recommended from JTA