Dear Mr. President,
Act S. 447 makes claims against Poland that are illegal and immoral.
“Restitution of heirless property” has no basis in the Western tradition or existing law. Property cannot be restored to parties who had no claim on it, to begin with. In all Western countries, including the US, heirless property escheats to the State.
Act S. 447 would injure Poland more than other countries because, on the eve of World War II, Poland had the world’s second-largest Jewish population. Most of the Polish Jews perished in the German death camps or ghettos or were killed at the hands of German SS.
Under the terms of a treaty made with the US in 1960, Poland has already compensated American citizens whose assets were nationalized by the Polish Communist government. The US has indemnified Poland from any additional claims and compensation demands. Poland has made similar agreements with 12 Western European countries and Canada. S.447 would violate the terms of an existing treaty.
Thousands of individual claimants have already recovered their properties, pursuant to existing private property laws in Poland – based strictly on legitimate title claims and without regard to ethnic origin. Over 2500 Jewish religious and communal properties in Poland have been returned or compensated for since 1997 when the community and religious organizations property law was enacted.
S. 447 is immoral because it wrongly categorizes Poland as a perpetrator of the Holocaust. Its passage into law would cost the US immense goodwill, poison interethnic relations, and place material burdens on Poland that could impact the stability of the entire region.
S. 447 advocates on behalf of one group without regard to other groups. It is especially insulting and hurtful to ethnic Polish survivors of Germany’s genocide against the Poles in World War II.
Please veto Act S. 447!