Polish Prime Minister vows to fix laws to protect Poles from German property claims

26th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

26 July 2007, NARTY, Poland (AP) _ The prime minister vowed Thursday to tie up legal loopholes that allow Germans who fled communist Poland to reclaim property that Poles have lived on for decades.

26 July 2007

NARTY, Poland (AP) _ The prime minister vowed Thursday to tie up legal loopholes that allow Germans who fled communist Poland to reclaim property that Poles have lived on for decades.

A handful of families in villages in northeastern Poland have lost court cases in recent years to Germans who fled communist Poland in the 1970s. The Germans, who gave up ownership rights to their properties when they emigrated, have since returned to reclaim the land that once belonged to their families.

"Those (Poles) who took over property in good faith, as a result of events tied to Germans leaving Poland, even those so-called late-departures, must have 100 percent certainty that their situation is secure and nothing threatens them," Jaroslaw Kaczynski said.

Speaking to reporters from the garden in front of the red brick house that belongs to Zdzislaw and Lucja Lunskis _ one of the families that lost their house in a recent court case but has appealed the decision _ Kaczynski said Poland cannot allow a Polish citizen to fear "that somebody could come take his land away because sometime in the 1970s it belonged to someone else."

Kaczynski said it was a large-scale legal problem, and that his government was drawing up new laws "to resolve this issue once and for all," including regulating property ownership records.

The prime minister also criticized "bad court decisions" that have ruled in favor of Germans in land disputes, and called on courts to act in the interests of Poland and its own citizens first.

The Polish-German borders shifted west after World War II, forcing many Germans to leave lands in what is now western and northeastern Poland. Property claims have long been a sore spot in the neighbors' relations.

In December, the Prussian Claims Society, which represents a small group of expelled Germans, filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, accusing Poland of violating the human rights of those driven from their prewar homes as eastern Europe's boundaries were redrawn in the tumultuous aftermath of the war.

Some Germans were able to stay, and only opted to flee communist Poland in the 1960s and 1970s.

AP

Subject: German news

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