Warsaw refuses to return houses of Jewish family refugees in Belgium
Tuesday, 11 April 2017
Jozef Sznajer, a Brussels citizen born in 1939 in Poland, will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights because the city of Warsaw refuses to return the five buildings his family owned before being sent to the ghetto, reports Le Soir. A former refugee in Belgium, Jozef Sznajer returned to Warsaw to assert his rights when communism came to an end. But he was asked to wait. In 2016, Poland passed a law granting six months to the injured property owners to undertake judicial proceedings, but only on condition that they had already made claims before 1989 and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
This law destroyed the hopes of Jozef Sznajer, who had a survey made by a Polish expert surveyor of all the property of his family, seized by the Nazis and then by the communist regime.
Born during the Second World War, Jozef Sznajer experienced hunger and fear from an early age in the Warsaw ghettos before escaping through the sewers with his parents and sister. All four then hid for 18 months in the cellar of a farm. Found alive but completely undernourished in 1944, the family left to settle in Belgium because the violence against the Jews persisted.
Today, Mr. Sznajer does not intend to “fight an ethnic battle”: It is not because I am of Jewish origin that I revolt, but simply as anyone who is the victim of a theft , to recover what belongs to my family, nothing more”, he says.