Social activist of Jewish origin calls Israel’s backlash at Polish law changes ‘nuts’

Jan Śpiewak, a recognised city activist of Jewish origin, known for his struggle with “wild re-privatisation” of Warsaw’s real estate, responded to the Israeli remarks to the reformed Polish Code of Administrative Procedure by calling them “nuts”.

On Thursday, the Sejm adopted a change to the provision ordering the recognition of an administrative decision invalid due to “gross violation of the law” - regardless of how long ago it was issued. According to the amendment, if 30 years have passed, it will no longer be possible to proceed with the invalidity of the decision. The act is to end the so-called “wild re-privatisation.”

The Israeli embassy and Israeli Foreign minister Jair Lapid stated that ​​this “will make it impossible to return Jewish property or seek compensation for it, to Holocaust survivors and their descendants, and to the Jewish community to whom Poland was home for centuries.” Israel threatens that “immoral law will seriously damage relations between the two countries.”

Mr Śpiewak responded to the Israeli remarks to the reformed law with colourful language. He quoted the embassy’s tweet and wrote: “As a Pole of a Jewish origin and a person who has worked his fingers to the bone with regards to re-privatisation issue: you must be nuts.”

Poland IN asked the activist for more opinion about the issue.

Why is Jair Lapid attacking Poland?

Most likely, the reason behind Jair Lapid's attitude is the intention to strengthen his position in the government he is forming right now.

Do the Polish developer lobbyists have backing beyond Poland?

Of course it does, because their interests coincide. And the Polish reprivatisation lobby wants there to be still a door to take over real estate and here we are talking primarily about real estate, from what at least I am aware of, agrarian reform, i.e. aristocratic property and real estate in Warsaw, because this is what this really concerns. The act will also mean that all other proceedings that were pending in paragraph 156 of the Code of Administrative Procedure (CAP) will simply be annulled, it also extinguishes many claims against the Polish state. Of course, among those people interested in re-privatisation were American Jews and those from Israel. This is also the case of the so-called property without inheritance, but from what I know, this act does not concern these issues directly.

Whose book does this law not suit?

The law is not great for big law firms that have gathered enormous assets on re-privatisation and obtaining damages, from taking over real estate, manors, plots of land, farm gardens, tenement houses and construction sites in Warsaw. This act puts an end to any way they can take over these properties. This is a blow to some international Jewish organisations that are fighting for heirless property, property of Holocaust victims, to be distributed according to different rules than the rest of Polish property that was nationalised or left without heirs in Poland. Poland has an interest in inheriting and taking over these properties from them, and this results from the existing laws, often in these cases you do not need to pass anything additional, no law to secure these properties, but there are still some claims and this is a blow to the efforts of these international organisations.

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