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Fury over Polish law on property

    The Polish government is planning a major change in the law on the restitution of confiscated communal property.

    Currently, claims for the restitution of Jewish and non-Catholic property that was confiscated by the Nazis and the Communist regimes are dealt with by appointed government and public committees. Under the proposed changes, future claims will be handled by the courts instead.

    The altered law will also mean that claimants will have to pay a deposit of three per cent of the value of the property ahead of any restitution process and, should their claim be rejected, the deposit will be transferred to the Polish treasury.

    Jewish groups in Poland and around the world have attacked the proposed changes, saying that they would require future claimants to come up with land records that, in many cases, were lost during the war.

    Piotr Kadlcik, President of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland, was consulted over the proposed changes but has publicly rejected them.

    The President of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder, said the planned law was "ill-conceived and perhaps even unconstitutional".

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