Senators press Poland to repay victims for property stolen by Nazis

Senators press Poland to repay victims for property stolen by Nazis
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A bipartisan group of senators is asking the Trump administration to urge Poland to pay victims whose property was stolen by Nazis.

In a letter dated Monday, more than 80 senators from both parties asked Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump heads to California Pence says US is 'locked and loaded' to defend allies US-Iran next moves — Déjà vu of Obama administration mistakes? MORE to "pursue bold initiatives to help Poland resolve this issue as quickly as possible." 

"Now is the time, while the last Holocaust survivors are still alive, to back up our words with meaningful action," the senators wrote. 

The letter comes weeks ahead of President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE's planned trip to Poland and Denmark to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II.

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The senators acknowledged Pompeo's February remarks in Warsaw calling on Poland to "restitute private property belonging to Holocaust victims, their families and others from whom it was confiscated during the Communist era."

Although Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the issue has been resolved, it has not, the senators wrote. 

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum estimates that 90 percent of Poland's Jewish population was killed during the Holocaust — approximately 3 million Jews. Nazis killed an additional 1.9 million non-Jewish Polish citizens. 

After World War II, the Communist state in Poland took property the Nazis had confiscated from Jews and targeted non-Jewish citizens. 

"Seventy-four years after the end of the Second World War, the remaining Holocaust survivors are aging and cannot wait any longer for justice," the senators wrote. 

"While these actions were important reminders that Americans have not forgotten about this issue, Poland has not yet fulfilled its promises to Holocaust survivors and others from whom property was confiscated and time is running out," they added.

A State Department spokesperson said in an emailed statement "we do not comment on correspondence between members of Congress and the Department of State."

The spokesperson added that the administration's policy on Holocaust restitution "is clear," noting Pompeo's February remarks in Warsaw.