Poland: Equality in Reparation, Property and Compensation Rights and Their Protection sign now

In Heartfelt Memory of those Abandoned Brave and Patriotic Polish Citizens and Martyrs who Valiantly Fought Against All Odds to Defend Polands Eastern Borderland Frontier (Kresy Wschodnie) from 1920-1940

Prepared on 13 October 2008 by Wieslaw George Helon: Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia


On the abandonment, helplessness and inability of survivors, children, heirs, and descendants - of those patriotic and heroic Polish Citizens and Martyrs who lived in, and valiantly guarded Polands Eastern Borderland Frontier (Kresy Wschodnie) between the inter-war years of 1920 to 1940 - to apply for Property Compensation in order to realize their claims and satisfy their entitlements without recourse to unnecessary and prolonged Court actions and Appeals, because of widespread and systemic defects in various Legislation enacted by the Parliament of the Republic of Poland and those Provisions contained therein.


Historical Summary

In the aftermath of the Polish-Soviet War of 1920-1921, and after 123 years as a divided and non-existent Nation, an Independent Polish State was finally reconstituted by Marshal Jozef Pilsudski, whose patriotic forces had heroically defeated the invading and marauding Bolshevik armies.

To avert any future threat by the Bolsheviks to Poland's sovereignty, via her Eastern Corridor, the Parliament of the Republic of Poland instituted a bold Land Reform Program aimed at creating and populating a buffer zone in the East, primarily with former military personnel, as insurance against any possible Bolshevik incursion or invasion in the future.

When the Provisions of the Granting of Land to Soldiers from the Polish Army Act (2) of the Parliament of the Republic of Poland dated 17 December 1920 (Ustawy 2, z dnia 17 Grudnia 1920 r. O Nadaniu Ziemi Zolnierzom Wojska Polskiego) as contained in the "Journal of Laws" 1921, No. 4, Item 18 ("Dziennik Ustaw" 1921, Nr. 4, Poz. 18) came into force, "Polish Army Soldiers who defended the Borders of the Fatherland (were permitted to) obtain Land to own from the Reserve created on the basis of the Act of 17 December 1920 (Art. 1)" by grant, or by purchase.

That Eastern Borderland area that was occupied by Polish Military Settlers (Osadnicy Wojskowe) and Civilian Farmer Settlers (Osadnicy Cywilne) was known as Kresy Wschodnie; commonly Kresy.

Even before the invasion of Poland's Eastern Frontier on Sunday 17 September 1939 by forces of the former Soviet Union, secret and clandestine plans had already been put into motion under the Provisions of the 'Secret Protocol' as contained in the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact - which was signed in Moscow in the early hours of the morning of Thursday 24 August 1939 - between the Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop.

Accordingly, all patriotic Kresy Polish military colonists, civilian farmer settlers, and well-to-do land-owning peasants (Kulaks) were immediately stripped of any property and ownership rights; their financial assets were frozen and seized; their homes, businesses and farms were ransacked; their personal property and belongings were destroyed before them; they were arbitrarily arrested (some were beaten, some were imprisoned) and then deported with their entire families to forced labor camps (GULAGs) and "Special Settlements" (Posioleks) located in the outermost reaches of the Soviet Union, including, but not limited to: Siberia, Kazakhstan, and Soviet Asia, to endure an uncertain fate fraught with disease, starvation and intolerable conditions.

It is estimated that between 1941-1942 about 1.989 million patriotic Polish citizens from all walks of life (including: military personnel, the intelligentsia, clergy, business owners and landholders) were forcibly deported into exile: 429,000 on 9/10 February 1940; 624,000 on 12/13 April 1940; 468,000 on 28/29 June 1940, and 468,000 between 13-22 June 1941 (W.G. Helon quoted in Kresowa Czystka Etniczna; Scientific Curiosities; ISSN 1176-7545; No. 930; 15.02.2005); but when coupled with the known 647,000 POWs, Red Army recruits and Concentration Camp victims in the Soviet Union as of June 1941 (T. Piotrowski; Occasional Papers in Polish and Polish American Studies; No. 12; 2002; p.12) the number of those persons banished into exile would total 2.636 million persons.

Of the hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children who were arbitrarily arrested, forcibly deported and exiled, between 1940-1941, only 115,000 are documented as having successfully found their way to the coastal city of Pahlevi (now Bandar-e Anzali), Persia (now Iran) between 24 March to 28 August 1942, where the Polish General Wladyslaw Anders was raising a free Polish Army which would later distinguish itself triumphantly in many theaters of battle, including the desperate fight by the Western Allies to take the Italian hilltop Monastery of Monte Cassino in May 1944 - a heroic battle won by the Poles.

With no homes to return to, the families of those brave and patriotic Polish heroes and Martyrs were relocated to Polish Displaced Persons Camps throughout Africa, the Middle East, India, Mexico and New Zealand; not by choice, but by necessity.

So, as a result of past injustices and treatment at the hands of former Communist Regimes, many patriotic and heroic Polish Citizens could not return after World War 2 to take-up residence within the current geographical borders of the Republic of Poland because they not only found themselves scattered all over the World, but many feared future political persecution, oppression and repression.


Preamble

WHEREAS the Government of the Republic of Poland did sign Accords with the Government of the former Soviet USSR, at the cessation of all World War 2 combat hostilities, that it would be responsible for compensating its dispossessed and repatriated Citizens who were previously domiciled in Kresy Wschodnie (Polands Eastern Borderland Frontier) from assets and property it obtained in the West from the so-called Reclaimed Territories from Germany, it has been almost impossible for a majority of those survivors, children, heirs, and descendants of those patriotic and heroic Polish Citizens and Martyrs to realize their claims and satisfy their entitlements without recourse to unnecessary and prolonged Court actions and Appeals, because of widespread and systemic defects in various Legislation enacted by the Parliament of the Republic of Poland and those ambiguous Provisions contained therein; the imposition of inequitable, unworkable, unrealistic and discriminatory Provisions and Policies; namely: 1. Discrimination against those potential Claimants whom live abroad; 2. The fact those living abroad had no notice of the Property Compensation Act of 8 July 2005 until approximately August 2007, thereby making it impossible to meet the evidential requirements of the Property Compensation Act of 8 July 2005 by the deadline of 31 December 2008; 3. The absence of any sympathetic consideration for the physical frailty, advancing age and lack of financial resources of many potential Applicants for Property Compensation; 4. The fact that many potential Claimants no longer personally reside in Poland or have family there, making them ineligible to seek restitution they are discriminated against; 5. The fact that many potential Claimants don't know the Polish language, know how, or where to write to obtain copies of those original documents being presently demanded under the current Provisions of the Property Compensation Act of 8 July 2005; 6. The fact that Polish Citizenship Confirmations are taking up to 2 years to be processed and are continually being denied even though the Applicants and/or their Parents and Grandparents were born within the geographical boundaries of Poland as it existed prior to the Second World War; 7. The fact that applications for Siberia Deportees Cross (Krzyza Zeslancow Sybiru) are taking in some cases over 2 years to be processed, that Applicants are dying whilst applications are being needlessly delayed and entangled with bureaucracy, and that posthumous presentations of the Siberia Deportees Cross (Krzyza Zeslancow Sybiru) to next-of-kin are not permitted advice of this to families can be devastating and quite traumatic. This is offensive, and an affront to those whom suffered and endured so much, those survivors, their families and those descendants whom remain; 8. The fact that the Government of the Republic of Poland demands that all Archival and documentary evidence submitted in support of Claims for Property Compensation be translated from the language of origin and/or issuance into the Polish language, Notarized and Apostilled accordingly at great expense, financial burden and inconvenience to potential Claimants; 9. The fact that potential Claimants are required to produce original Property, Notarial Acts and Bills, Probate and Testamentary documents, which in a majority of cases, were seized, confiscated and/or destroyed by local NKVD and UPA militia when the homes of those being arbitrarily arrested and deported were being ransacked; 10. The fact many Archival documents confirming Births, Marriages, Deaths, Property Titles, Testamentary Proceedings, Citizenship and Court Decisions were either damaged, destroyed or found their way into various Archival, Institutional, Repository and Private collections all over the World, and that not only locating, but obtaining official copies and/or transcripts of these within a designated time frame and before the imminent deadline of 31 December 2008 is in most cases not possible as research enquiries can take up to 6 months to be dealt with by Archival authorities in the Ukraine, Belarus and other former Eastern-Bloc countries. Research takes money, usually cash up front, a luxury that the majority of potential Claimants simply dont have; 11. The fact that some Consular staff of the Republic of Poland are presenting contradictory advice and are not making themselves regularly available to assist potential Claimants who live away from capital cities.


Article 1.

WE, the undersigned being survivors, children, heirs, and descendants of those patriotic and heroic Polish Citizens and Martyrs who lived within, and valiantly guarded Polands Eastern Borderland Frontier (Kresy Wschodnie) between the inter-war years of 1920 to 1940, are desirous to have addressed immediately those inequities that exist in, and that discrimination that results from the administration of the current Provisions of the "Act dated 8 July 2005 about Payment of a Right for Compensation from Title of Leaving Estate Beyond Present Borders of the Republic of Poland" (O Realizacji Prawa do Rekompensaty z Tytulu Pozostawienia Nieruchomosci Poza Obecnymi Granicami Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej" - "Dziennik Ustaw" 05.169.1418).


Article 2.

WE are desirous that the Government of the Republic of Poland immediately extend the deadline for the submission of all applications for Property Compensation to 31 December 2009, giving due and sympathetic consideration to the: physical frailty, advancing age and lack of financial resources of many potential Applicants for Property Compensation; the fact that many potential Claimants no longer personally reside in the Republic of Poland or have family there; the fact many potential Claimants don't know the Polish language, know how, or where to write to obtain copies of those original documents being presently demanded under the current Provisions of the Property Compensation Act of 8 July 2005.


Article 3.

WE are desirous that the Government of the Republic of Poland exalt and honor the memory of those patriotic and heroic Polish Citizens whom were arbitrarily arrested, had their property ransacked, their financial assets frozen and seized, their belongings confiscated and destroyed, and whom were finally deported between 1940 and 1941 to the harsh and inhospitable wastelands of the outermost reaches of the former Soviet USSR where they were consigned to suffer, endure and perish, by taking into consideration that as a result of past injustices and treatment at the hands of former Communist Regimes, many patriotic and heroic Polish Citizens could not return after World War 2 to take-up residence within the current geographical borders of the Republic of Poland for fear of political persecution, oppression and repression.


Article 4.

WE are desirous that whether now domiciled within the current geographical borders of the Republic of Poland, or living abroad, WE be treated equally to each other in the administration of the current Provisions of the "Act dated 8 July 2005 about Payment of a Right for Compensation from Title of Leaving Estate Beyond Present Borders of the Republic of Poland" (O Realizacji Prawa do Rekompensaty z Tytulu Pozostawienia Nieruchomosci Poza Obecnymi Granicami Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej" - "Dziennik Ustaw" 05.169.1418).


Article 5.

WE, the undersigned, being survivors, whose parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents occupied, worked, and patriotically defended the then fertile Eastern Borderlands of Poland (Kresy Wschodnie) between the inter-war years of 1920 to 1940 by taking-up plots of land obtained through grant, and/or by purchase, under the Provisions of Article 1 of the Granting of Land to Soldiers from the Polish Army Act (2) of the Parliament of the Republic of Poland dated 17 December 1920 (Ustawy 2, z dnia 17 Grudnia 1920 r. O Nadaniu Ziemi Zolnierzom Wojska Polskiego) as contained in the "Journal of Laws" 1921, No. 4, Item 18 ("Dziennik Ustaw" 1921, Nr. 4, Poz. 18), are desirous that the Government of the Republic of Poland will for the purposes of simplifying, accelerating, and expediting the administration of the current Provisions of the "Act dated 8 July 2005 about Payment of a Right for Compensation from Title of Leaving Estate Beyond Present Borders of the Republic of Poland" (O Realizacji Prawa do Rekompensaty z Tytulu Pozostawienia Nieruchomosci Poza Obecnymi Granicami Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej" - "Dziennik Ustaw" 05.169.1418) honor, confirm and restore (without discrimination) the Citizenship Rights of all those persons, including: Polish Military Settlers (Osadnicy Wojskowe), Civilian Farmer Settlers (Osadnicy Cywilne) and well-to-do land-owning peasants (Kulaks), their heirs, and descendants seeking to apply for Property Compensation regardless of whether they are now domiciled within the current geographical borders of the Republic of Poland, or living abroad


Article 6.

WE are desirous that the Government of the Republic of Poland recognize, remember, and exalt the invaluable contribution, the intolerable suffering, self-sacrifice, the exile, and the continued trauma experienced by the survivors, children, heirs, and descendants of those who lived within, valiantly guarded and defended Polands Eastern Borderland Frontier (Kresy Wschodnie) between the inter-war years of 1920 to 1940, by giving due and sympathetic consideration to the physical frailty, to the advancing age of those persons applying for Award of Siberia Deportees Cross (Krzyza Zeslancow Sybiru), to the amount of time required to locate and obtain original Archival records, and that the Provisions of the Establishment of the Cross for Exiles to Siberia Act of the Parliament of the Republic of Poland dated 17 October 2003 (Ustawa, z dnia 17 Pazdziernika 2003r. O Ustanowieniu Krzyza Zeslancow Sybiru) as contained in the "Journal of Laws" 2003, No. 225, Item 2230 ("Dziennik Ustaw" 2003, Nr. 225, Poz. 2230), be amended to allow for the posthumous presentation of the Siberia Deportees Cross (Krzyza Zeslancow Sybiru) to next-of-kin where an Applicant has died after making application for awarding of the Cross. WE are further desirous that: 1. The Government of the Republic of Poland give due consideration to further amending the Establishment of the Cross for Exiles to Siberia Act of the Parliament of the Republic of Poland dated 17 October 2003 (Ustawa, z dnia 17 Pazdziernika 2003r. O Ustanowieniu Krzyza Zeslancow Sybiru) as contained in the "Journal of Laws" 2003, No. 225, Item 2230 ("Dziennik Ustaw" 2003, Nr. 225, Poz. 2230), to include Provision where in the absence, or lack of specified Archival documents confirming deportation, relocation and exile, that Applicant can provide Notarized Statement given under rigor for depositing of false statement before a Notary, or Polish Consular Representative; 2. That the Government of the Republic of Poland allow for submission of applications for Siberia Deportees Cross (Krzyza Zeslancow Sybiru) directly with Consular Representatives where Applicants are domiciled overseas, and that Government of the Republic of Poland undertakes to process all applications for Siberia Deportees Cross (Krzyza Zeslancow Sybiru) expediently and promptly within 12 months of submission of application with Consular Representative.


Article 7.

WE are desirous that whether now domiciled within the current geographical borders of the Republic of Poland, or living abroad, that the Government of the Republic of Poland remove the requirement for Archival and documentary evidence submitted in support of Claims for Property Compensation to be translated from the language of origin and/or issuance into the Polish language, Notarized and Apostilled, provided that documents used to support any Claim for Property Compensation were issued and can be verified - by a competent and recognized Archival Authority, Institution, or Repository as specified here: Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum (London); Ministry of Defence (London); KARTA (Warsaw); Stowarzyszenie Rodzin Osadnikow Wojskowych i Cywilnych Kresow Wschodnich (Warsaw); Zabuszanskie Archives (Warsaw); Memorial (Moscow); NKVD Archives (Arkhangelsk); Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University (Stanford); The National Archives of the United Kingdom (London); Red Cross (London); Registrar-General's Office (London); State Archives (Lwow and other Regions); Registrar-General's Office of the United Republic of Tanzania (formerly Tanganyika); the Registrar-Generals Office of the Republic of Kenya; Central Military Archives CAW (Warsaw), or any other internationally and legally recognized National, State, or Archival Authority, Institution, or Repository.


Article 8.

WE are desirous that the Government of the Republic of Poland recognize and give due consideration to the fact that, during and after the Second World War, many Archival documents confirming Births, Marriages, Deaths, Property Titles, Testamentary Proceedings, Citizenship and Court Decisions were either damaged or destroyed and found their way into various Archival, Institutional, Repository and Private collections all over the World including, and not limited to: Poland, Belarus, the Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Kenya, Tanzania, Kazakhstan, Iran, India, New Zealand and Mexico, and that not only locating, but obtaining official copies and/or transcripts of these within a designated time frame and before the imminent deadline of 31 December 2008 is in most cases not possible as research enquiries can take up to 6 months to be dealt with by Archival authorities in the Ukraine, Belarus and other former Eastern-Bloc countries. Research takes money, usually cash up front, a luxury that the majority of potential Claimants simply dont have.


Article 9.

WE, the undersigned, being survivors living in exile, whose parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents occupied, worked, and patriotically defended the then fertile Eastern Borderlands of Poland (Kresy Wschodnie) between the inter-war years of 1920 to 1940, are desirous that the Government of the Republic of Poland remove the requirement for Applicants for Property Compensation from having to produce original Wills, Grants of Probate and Court Decisions regarding Testamentary Proceedings, provided that the Applicant can account for the fate of those potential heirs and claimants specified in Archival Documents issued by Memorial (Moscow); KARTA (Warsaw); NKVD Archival Authorities; or provide Notarized Statement given under rigor for depositing of false statement before a Notary, or Polish Consular Representative.


Article 10.

WE are desirous that the Government of the Republic of Poland accept as prima facie evidence of having lived and where - within the former pre-war geographical boundaries of Poland, Archival and/or documentary evidence obtained from any of the following competent and recognized Archival Authorities, Institutions, or Repositories specified here: Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum (London); Ministry of Defence (London); KARTA (Warsaw); Stowarzyszenie Rodzin Osadnikow Wojskowych i Cywilnych Kresow Wschodnich (Warsaw); Zabuszanskie Archives (Warsaw); Memorial (Moscow); NKVD Archives (Arkhangelsk); Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, Stanford University (Stanford); The National Archives of the United Kingdom (London); Red Cross (London); Registrar-General's Office (London); State Archives (Lwow and other Regions); Registrar-General's Office of the United Republic of Tanzania (formerly Tanganyika); the Registrar-Generals Office of the Republic of Kenya; Central Military Archives CAW (Warsaw), or any other internationally and legally recognized National, State, or Archival Authority, Institution, or Repository.


Article 11.

WE the undersigned, are desirous that the Government of the Republic of Poland recognize and give due consideration to the fact that when its patriotic and heroic Polish Citizens were arbitrarily arrested at their homes and throughout Polands Eastern Borderlands (Kresy Wschodnie) between 1940 and 1941, their homes were ransacked by local NKVD and UPA Militia in searches for irreplaceable and original documents and personal effects which when found were either seized or destroyed on the spot - their property was confiscated and/or destroyed, and finally they were deported along with their entire families; so the demand to produce original ownership documents, notarial acts, bills, and other proofs is both an improbable expectation and unrealistic demand.


Article 12.

WE are desirous that the Government of the Republic of Poland accept as sufficient proof and as prima facie evidence confirming property rights and previous ownership, any original or certified Archival document no matter how nominal it is - as long as it contains the name of the original Grantee, Grantor or Purchaser of Property Rights, is dated, and contains details of how much land was granted or purchased, and that such Archival document is obtained from any competent internationally and legally recognized National, State, or Archival Authority, Institution, or Repository in Poland or abroad. In the absence of such Archival document, an Applicant for Property Compensation may provide 2 Notarized Witness Statements given under rigor for depositing of false statement before a Notary, or Polish Consular Representative.


Article 13.

WE are desirous that Consular Staff of the Republic of Poland, and other Official Government Representatives abroad, be directed to: assist and make themselves more regularly available to potential Claimants; to increase the number of Consular Field Staff visits to Capital Cities, so as to ensure persons living abroad and those potential Claimants not able to travel for health or other reasons, are not disadvantaged; to offer free and timely advice; to assist in the preparation of applications for Property Compensation, and applications for Siberia Deportees Cross (Krzyza Zeslancow Sybiru), and to submit these via Diplomatic Couriers to the appropriate Offices in Poland.

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To the President and Parliament of the Republic of Poland

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