The property commissions resolved approximately 160 communal property claims during the year for a cumulative total of approximately 6,800 cases resolved out of just over 10,500 communal property claims. The commission handling Jewish communal property claims had partially or entirely resolved 2,645 of the 5,554 claims the Jewish community had submitted by its 2002 filing deadline. The commission handling Lutheran property claims had partially or entirely resolved 960 of the 1,200 claims filed by its 1996 filing deadline. The commission handling Orthodox Church restitution had partially or entirely resolved 264 of 472 claims filed by 2005, and the property commission for all other denominations had partially or entirely resolved 83 out of 170 claims. The deadline for filing claims was 1998 for all other denominations except the Baptist Church and the Protestant Reformed Church, which could file claims through 2006. Previously resolved were 2,847 claims by the Catholic Church.
Critics said the laws on communal property restitution did not address the issue of communal properties to which private third parties had title, and the government left several controversial and complicated cases unresolved. In a number of cases, buildings and residences were built on land that included Jewish cemeteries destroyed during or after World War II. The Jewish community continued to complain that the pace of Jewish communal property restitution was slow. In August the president sent Warsaw property legislation passed by the parliament to the Constitutional Tribunal for review. The legislation concerned the property rights of former owners of Warsaw properties confiscated during the communist era. The legislation would have affected some property restitution claims in Warsaw, including some claims involving the Polish and U.S. Jewish communities, but the president did not sign the legislation, and it did not go into effect pending the Constitutional Tribunal’s review, which had not yet scheduled a hearing of the case as of the end of the year.
In December Pawel Kukiz, a member of parliament and leader of its third largest political grouping in parliament, stated large scale antigovernment protests were being financed by a “foreign Jewish banker.” The President of the Polish Union of Jewish Communities and the Israeli ambassador wrote letters to the government condemning Kukiz’s statement as anti‑Semitic.
Prosecutors pursued some cases of anti‑Semitic speech, while discontinuing investigations into others. In October the Warsaw‑Zoliborz district prosecutor’s office initiated an investigation into anti‑Semitic and anti‑Roma slogans which were spray painted on various buildings around Warsaw city center. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) said law enforcement officials continued to improve their performance in investigating anti‑Semitic incidents, but often failed to identify the perpetrators. NGOs also stated that, unlike in previous years, prosecutors did not discontinue investigations due to the “low social harm” of the incidents.
Groups such as All‑Polish Youth, National Rebirth of Poland, Red Watch, and Blood and Honor espoused anti‑Semitic views, but authorities were not able to link any of them to specific incidents of violence or vandalism.
In February a Wroclaw local court convicted the author of the book How I Fell in Love with Adolf Hitler to 30 hours of community service per month for six months for promoting fascism and incitement to hatred on racial, religious, and cultural grounds.
On October 6, the Constitutional Tribunal dismissed a complaint by a Polish pop star over current laws on offending religious feelings. Dorota Rabczewska, better known as Doda, stated that trying citizens for offending religious feelings was unconstitutional, as it prevented freedom of expression on religious matters. In January 2012, Doda was ordered to pay a fine of 5,000 zloty ($1276) for stating during a 2009 interview that the Bible “was written by someone who was hammered on wine and who had been smoking herbs.” In the Constitutional Tribunal decision, the judges ruled the article of the criminal code which referred to offending religious feelings constituted a justified interference in freedom of speech, as it did not violate the essence of freedom of speech and public debate.
On May 27, the Warsaw district prosecutor’s office discontinued for the fourth time an investigation into anti‑Semitic comments posted on the internet in 2011 about former Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski and his family. Prosecutors stated they discontinued the investigation due to the lack of an offense, the statute of limitations, and the failure to identify the perpetrator.
Janusz Korwin‑Mikke, a Member of the European Parliament, remained under investigation by the Warsaw prosecutor’s office for performing a Nazi salute during a debate in the European Parliament in July. Press reports indicated the prosecutor’s office was considering whether Korwin‑Mikke violated laws banning incitement to hatred. In addition, Korwin‑Mikke faced disciplinary proceedings and sanctions from the European Parliament, including a 2,200 euro fine ($2,393) and a 10‑day suspension.
In November the Czulent Jewish Association and the Autonomia Foundation presented a study on history textbooks entitled “Anti‑Semitism is Not an Option” to the national ombudsman’s office. According to remarks made by the president of the Czulent Jewish Association, “There are … open and covert nationalistic and discriminatory content [in the textbooks] which may lead to the strengthening of prejudice and anti‑Semitism.”
On October 31, recently elected President Andrzej Duda attended Reformation Day celebrations with the Lutheran community in the town of Bielsko‑Biala. On September 10, Duda visited a mosque in the village of Bohoniki, where much of the Polish Muslim community resides. On August 19, he participated in religious ceremonies for the main holiday of the Polish Orthodox Church at the Grabarka Shrine. On December 9, the president hosted a Hanukkah celebration in which the nation’s chief rabbi and other leading members of the Jewish community participated.
Crucifixes continued to be displayed in both the upper and lower houses of parliament, as well as in many other public buildings, including public school classrooms.
The government and the city of Warsaw continued to fund the operating budget for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, which opened in 2014.
The government is a member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. The government funded exchanges with Polish participants and U.S. and Israeli Jews to foster dialogue on restitution, the Holocaust, and interfaith issues.