B’nai B’rith International President Charles O. Kaufman and CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin have issued the following statement:
B’nai B’rith is appalled at the absolutist stance of the Polish government that it will never provide any restoration or compensation to Jews whose property was stolen during the Holocaust.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and his Law and Justice party have clung to the view that because Poland was also a victim of Nazi Germany it cannot be held responsible for crimes committed against Jews. They are therefore denying rightful and long-overdue compensation to Polish Jews whose property was stolen during World War II. However, some Poles did participate in crimes against Jews, before, during and after the war.
Poland’s post-war Communist regime nationalized much of the property stolen from Jews. Morawiecki says any restitution to Jews must be paid by Berlin.
Last year in the shadow of a Polish law that would have criminalized talk of Poland’s complicity in the Holocaust, we noted that Poland must acknowledge a history of anti-Semitism that preceded the Holocaust and persists to this day.
We also condemn the disgraceful and brazen act of anti-Semitism by Polish politician Konrad Berkowicz, who forced a kippah on the head of Law and Justice Party leader Anna Krupka while saying she is “selling the country to the Jews.” When Poland denies its history, acts like these further illustrate the country’s problem. This event is especially despicable considering that it took place in Kielce, the home of a horrific pogrom carried out against Jews in 1946.