Restitution

Restitution of communal Jewish property in Poland refers to the regulatory proceedings that constitute the process of transfer of ownership by the Polish State to one of the Jewish religious communities or the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland of the real property or parts thereof which on 1 September 1939 were held by the Jewish religious communities or other Jewish religious legal entities. It is thus a process that addresses the issue of the Jewish communal rather private property.

The restitution process is undertaken pursuant to the Act of 20 February 1997 on Relations Between the State and Jewish Religious Communities in the Republic of Poland (Journal of Laws No. 41 item 251, as amended). The Jewish Religious Communities and the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland were provided with a five-year period, running from the date of entry into force of the law (11 May 1997), in which to submit to the special Regulatory Commission of an application for instigation of the relevant regulatory proceedings.

The definition a Jewish religious legal person adopted by the Regulatory Commission encompasses associations, societies and foundations established by legal and natural persons for the purpose of performing the statutory activities of the former Jewish religious communities, and in particular for organisation and development of synagogues, cemeteries and other religious worship, educational, and charitable social care facilities. Each such institution had to have an organizational as well as a financial dependence relationship with a specific former Jewish religious community. Articles  30 and 31 of the aforementioned Act enumerate the kinds of real property which may be the subject of the regulatory proceedings and the functions these need to perform as at the date of entry into force of the Act.