Poland has good record on restitution, insists envoy

By Marcus Dysch, March 13, 2014

Poland has taken suitable measures to ensure Holocaust survivors receive compensation, the country's ambassador to Britain has claimed.

Witold Sobkow responded to criticism over the Polish approach to restitution by suggesting the state had paid almost $1 billion for lost and seized property.

In a letter to today's Times, Mr Sobkow wrote: "I can assure you that the Polish government has been taking all measures to enable rightful owners to reclaim their properties".

The country has been repeatedly criticised by campaigners for what is said to be a slack approach to the post-war issue.

Dozens of British parliamentarians wrote to Poland’s Prime Minister last month to urge his country to do more to provide restitution to Shoah victims.

Mr Sobkow added: "Laws are in place and have been successfully applied for more than two decades. As of the end of January 2014 the Polish state paid almost $1bn in compensation for property thus lost.

"Jewish religious communities have been paid compensation and damages totalling almost $27m, not counting property restituted whose value has not been appraised."

He said the law did not differentiate between claimants on grounds of their race or ethnicity.

The letter sent by politicians to Prime Minister Donald Tusk had suggested Poland “stands out” in its “failure” on the issue.

Last updated: 3:13pm, March 13 2014