Poland’s New Restitution Law Isn’t about Property, but Rewriting History

Aug. 30 2021

Earlier this month, the Polish president signed into law a bill that makes it impossible for Jews to pursue claims to property stolen during and immediately after World War II. Ben Cohen sums up a recent discussion of the issue among four prominent Polish historians:

[T]he real purpose of the recent reform to the Code of Administrative Procedure—as well as the [law that] allows for civil prosecutions of historians who research . . . Polish collusion with the Nazis—was to help transform the Holocaust from a Jewish trauma into a Polish one. The success of that narrative . . . depends in large part on excluding from historical inquiry the topic of the collusion of elements of the population in Poland, a country with a long history of anti-Semitic agitation, with the Nazi persecution of the Jews.

One of the leading Polish scholars of World War II, Jan Gross, added:

[The defense of the new law] one hears from the right-wing nationalists [is] that the Jews are trying to seize property. This is presented as the expropriation of the Poles, and it becomes a major scandal. At the same time, the Polish government is demanding restitution from the Germans for damages incurred during the Nazi occupation, which they estimate at $850 billion. When this issue is brought up, you hear that the number of Poles killed [in World War II] was six million—that number is not a coincidence. However, the real number is under five million, and that is when we include the three million Polish Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

So the potential scandal which is on the verge of unfolding is when the Jewish community, which rightly considers itself to have been robbed, learns that the Polish regime intends to request compensation from Germany for Jewish property that was destroyed during the war.

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Holocaust, Holocaust restitution, Poland

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela