Press Release of Polish Americans on Discriminatory Act S. 447

Los Angeles, May 11, 2018

On 73rd anniversary of the end of World War II, which claimed the lives of over 6 million Polish citizens, the US President Donald Trump signed Act S. 447 that discriminates against Polish Holocaust survivors and against Polish Americans. The legislation excludes all Polish Catholic Holocaust survivors and their families from any compensation for the German war crimes. The dissenting voices of Polish Americans were completely ignored by the US Congress and by President Trump during the legislative process.

On behalf of over 60 Polish American organizations which opposed Act S. 447 Edward Wojciech Jeśman, President and National Director of the Polish American Congress of Southern California, made the following statement after the US President signed Act S. 447 into law on May 9, 2018:

“We are profoundly disappointed that the US Congress did not listen to opposing voices of Polish Americans on the most controversial bill S. 447, and that the US President disregarded ethnic Polish Holocaust survivors by signing S. 447 into law. Unlike other countries, Poland was left without any compensation for the German crimes committed on ethnic Poles and for the destruction of property during World War II. Furthermore, Poland is expected today to pay compensation for the German-made genocide to US Jewish organizations unrelated to Polish citizens who perished during WWII. We strongly urge the American civil rights and human rights organizations to support the Polish American community in our efforts to restore justice for Polish Americans. We must join forces and ensure that Act S. 447 is declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court.”

Act S. 447 mandates US Department of State to monitor the legislative activity of countries participating in the Terezin Declaration, with regard to the compensation for the Jewish property, including the so called “heirless property”, to American claims organizations and to individuals. Concerning Poland, heirless property which belonged to the Polish citizens murdered by the Germans during World War II, had legally escheated to the Polish State. Organizations and individuals who are not legal heirs have no legal title to such claims. Act S. 447, which discriminates non-Jewish victims of the Third Reich, is an assault on fairness, justice and equality. The Act also violates the Indemnification Clause of the 1960 Treaty between Poland and the USA.

Act S. 447 provides Jewish claims organizations with effective means of exerting political, economic, legislative and military pressure on Poland in order to extort hundreds of billions of Dollars in illegal property claims. The inaccurate and one-sided media reporting on Poland based on gross misinterpretation of the new Polish bill about the Institute of National Remembrance have created a hostile climate that paved the way for the adoption of Act S. 447. We can expect that attacks on Poland will continue till Poland agrees to meet such illegal and immoral demands. We strongly disapprove and object to such a travesty of justice!

Edward Wojciech Jeśman

President and National Director

Polish American Congress
Southern California Division
3400 W. Adams Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90018
president@pacsocal.org