Poland’s continued refusal to institute restitution legislation so that Jews may receive just compensation for stolen or confiscated properties and holdings should come as no surprise (“Poland’s Foreign Minister Misspeaks On Restitution,” Opinion, April 8).
In order to appreciate Polish reluctance and outright stonewalling, one may gain invaluable insight by reading Jan Gross’ eye-opening work, “Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland After Auschwitz.” States Gross: “Given their pariah status under the Nazis, Jews were taken advantage of by the surrounding population in a multitude of transactions. But property transfer from Jewish to Polish ownership was marked not only by opportunistic exploitation, but also by outright plunder, associated with mass killings of the Jews by the German occupiers.”
Not only does Poland not want to part with its ill-gotten gains but the subject of Poles’ facilitation of and occasional participation in the murder of their own Jewish countrymen so as to take possession of Jewish property is a matter that most in Poland prefer remain a topic not open to discussion.
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