Poland will not pay for German crimes: PM

Poland's prime minister said on Friday that as long as he holds his post the Polish government will not pay for German crimes committed during the Second World War.

Mateusz Morawiecki made his declaration as Poland came under fire from Israel after the Polish lower house of parliament passed a bill that could put a time limit on restitution claims for property lost during the War.

According to the new Code of Administrative Procedure, passed by the Sejm (lower house) on Thursday evening, courts may consider appeals regarding administrative decisions on property only if they were made within the previous 30 years.

"I can only say that as long as I am the prime minister, Poland will certainly not pay for German crimes. Not a single zloty, euro or dollar," Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said at a press conference on Friday.

His words came not long after the Israeli embassy in Warsaw had fired a diplomatic broadside at Poland by calling the law "immoral" and warning that it will threaten relations with Poland.

Yair Lapid, the Israeli foreign minister, also went on the attack writing on Twitter: "This is a direct and painful attack on the rights of Holocaust survivors and their descendants. This is not the first time that the Poles are trying to turn a blind eye to what was done in Poland during the Holocaust."

On Friday the Polish Foreign Ministry released a statement saying that Poland was concerned about statements made by the Israeli side which implied "an ignorance of the facts and Polish law."

Moreover, the statement pointed out that "Poland bears no responsibility for the Holocaust, which was a crime committed by the German occupiers against Polish citizens of Jewish nationality and others. The victims of German crimes were millions of citizens of the Second Polish Republic."

Also on Friday, spokesperson of the US Department of State Ned Price called on Poland to put the works on the new Code of Administrative Procedure on hold. In his opinion the new law would be a step in a wrong direction.

Property restitution has long been a sensitive point in Poland's relations with the Jewish world. Jewish groups and Israel have often voiced their frustration over a lack of some form of restitution for Holocaust survivors and their families for property lost during the Second World War.

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