Poland May Restrict Holocaust Trips for Israeli Youth

YERUSHALAYIM -
The entrance to the former Nazi German Auschwitz death camp with the inscription “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Sets You Free) in Oswiecim, Poland. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, file)

Polish Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski said on Monday that his country is examining whether to allow the continuation of the annual Holocaust trips meant to allow Israeli youth to see Poland’s death camps firsthand.

“The trips do not take place in a proper manner. They sometimes instill hatred for Poland in the heads of young Israelis,” said Jablonski. “We will make the right decisions about these trips. We deal with anti-Polish sentiment in Israel, and one of the reasons for this is the way in which Israeli youth are educated and raised.”

Jablonski’s statement comes after the Israeli government lambasted the Polish government, after the country’s Parliament passed a legislation last week that would heavily restrict property restitution requests of Holocaust survivors whose belongings have been seized by the Nazis during World War II or by the Polish communist regime after the War.

Before World War II, Poland had been home to one of the world’s biggest Jewish communities, but it was almost entirely wiped out by the Nazis and Jewish former property owners and their descendants have been campaigning for compensation.

Up to now, Jewish expatriates or their descendants could make a claim that a property had been seized illegally and demand its return, but Polish officials argued this was causing uncertainty over property ownership.