Polish Jews repaid – Up to $2.5B returned

The roughly 10,000 Jews who live in Poland may get back $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion in so-called communal property taken by them from the Nazis, Reuters reported on June 19.

Elan Steinberg, executive vice president of the World Jewish Congress, told Reuters a pact had been reached to return 30 percent of the properties to 19 Jewish communities.

The remaining 70 percent will go to a foundation run jointly by the World Jewish Congress and the Polish Jewish community.

The term communal property is used to describe synagogues, religious schools, community centers and the like that served Poland’s 3.5 million Jews before World War Two. Most of these properties were later converted to other uses.

Some converted properties, including a large Jewish religious school now being used as a medical school, will be compensated rather than returned.

The WJC-Polish Jewish foundation will decide how to use the properties in 39 community where few Jews live today.

Since Poland returned to democracy in 1989, it has worked hard to improve relations with Poland’s tiny community of Jews.

For full text of the article, go to Reuters.

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