The Polish Americans stand united in our absolute rejection of Act S. 447, which was passed by the U.S. Congress on April 24, 2018 and signed by president Donald Trump on May 9, 2018! It became federal law 115-171. Poland is unquestionably the main target of that law.
This grossly flawed, unjust bill should be declared null and void for the following reasons:
S. 447, now federal law 115-171, discriminates against non-Jewish victims of World War Two, in particular against ethnic Poles, who were also subjected to the genocidal policies carried out by Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia during WWII, and whose property was destroyed by Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, or was confiscated and nationalized by the postwar Polish puppet government controlled by Soviet Russia. Thus S. 447 violates the XIV amendment to the US Constitution which guarantees equal protection of all citizens.
By introducing Act S. 447 in February 2017 the US Congress exceeded its authority defined in Article 1 of the US Constitution. The Congress violated also Clause 7 of rule XII of the House of Representatives which requires that each bill or joint resolution introduced in the House be accompanied by a Constitutional Authority Statement citing the power(s) granted to Congress in the Constitution to enact the proposed law. The US Constitution does not grant any power to the Congress to deal with issues articulated in S. 447. The Terezin Declaration, upon which S. 447 is based, is a legally non-binding document and can in no way be used as a basis of US legislation.
The US House of Representatives had no right to proceed S. 447 on April 24, 2018 on a motion to suspend the rules. Suspension of the rules is a procedure generally used to quickly pass non-controversial bills in the United States House of Representatives. S. 447 was a highly controversial bill. Polish Americans carried out in the period from January to May 2018 a series of educational campaigns in the US Congress, send thousands of petitions, and carried out countless meetings informing their US congressmen about illegal character of S. 447 (and its sister bill H.R. 1226). On April 24, 2018 the House proceeded S. 447 in an almost empty Chamber, and a handful of representatives agreed to S. 447 by highly controversial and almost inaudible voice vote. There was no quorum and there was no 2/3 votes “for” S. 447. Rep. Ed Royce from California admitted during the House session on April 24, 2018 that numerous Jewish organizations like WJRO and ADL exerted enormous pressure on representatives to pass Act S. 447 in favor of claims organizations. He did not mention the representatives of Polish Americans objecting the bill, and he rejected any talks with Polish Americans in the period from January to May 2018.
S. 447 violates the terms of the 1960 Treaty between the United States and Poland. Poland has already compensated American nationals whose assets had been nationalized by the Polish Communist government and the United States has indemnified Poland from any additional claims and compensation demands. Poland has also signed similar agreements with twelve other Western European countries and Canada.
S. 447 aims to enrich private Jewish American groups, which make absurd, unfounded claims for hundreds of billions of dollars, against Poland. S. 447 legitimizes extralegal demands of compensation and/or ”restitution of the heirless property”, a concept which carries a contradiction in terms, and which constitutes a departure from the existing law and the Western legal tradition. Heirless property always escheats to the state, and the groups attempting to make claims are not successors of the Polish citizens murdered by Germany between 1939 and 1945.
Execution of S. 447 would destabilize and weaken Poland, the key ally of the USA in Europe. The universal uproar, which the passage of the Bill created in Poland, has damaging effect on the image of the U.S. in Poland. The S. 447 obstructs the U.S. national security interests in Europe.
Poland has resorted to various means in order to return properties to their rightful owners, regardless of their ethnic background. Tens of thousands of people with legitimate title claims – regardless of their ethnic origin – have recovered their properties through the court system pursuant to the existing private property law. Over 2500 Jewish religious and communal properties in Poland have been returned or compensated for since 1997 when the community and religious organizations property law was enacted.