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Poland-Current Issues

Polish-Americans Direct Questions to US Presidential Candidates

  August 20, 2020

               Polonia Institute, Inc.

 

2785 Pacific Coast Hwy #295

Torrance, CA 90505

 info@poloniainstitute.net 

 www.poloniainstitute.net

 

Hon. Joe Biden

c/o The Joe Biden Campaign for President

PO Box 58174

Philadelphia, PA 19102

www.joebiden.com

 

Dear Mr. Vice President,

According to the US Census Bureau, the community of Americans of Polish descent is 13 million strong. The Polonia Institute is one of the most influential Polish-American think tanks. As a privately funded NGO, we conduct in-depth analyses on key issues concerning Polish-Americans, in particular issues affecting our community and matters involving bilateral relations between the United States and Poland.

The Polish-American community highly values promises given by a candidate for the President of the United States during the election campaign. In the upcoming 2020 Presidential Elections, Polish-Americans stand ready to provide pivotal support to a presidential candidate who promises support for issues of primary concern to our community.

In 2014 leaders of the Polish-American Community called on President Obama to strengthen bilateral security relations between the USA and Poland. They called for a stronger US military presence in Poland, the crucial country on the Eastern flank of NATO. The decisions made at the 2016 Warsaw NATO Summit met some of our expectations.

We, at the Polonia Institute, believe that Poland should have the same special relationship with the United States as granted to the United Kingdom and Israel. We share the same values and the same concerns. Moreover, Poland defends US interests in Europe, as an exceptionally trusted and valued ally and partner.

Today, the Russian Federation represents a serious threat to Poland.  We are grateful for the recent increase of US military presence in Poland and look forward to further military cooperation between Poland and the US.

I. On security matters, we therefore ask you:

  1. Do you support further enhancement of a strong US military presence in Poland?
  2. How would you support the Intermarium / Three Seas initiative?
  3. Do you plan to introduce stronger sanctions against entities involved in the Nord Stream II pipeline project?
  4. Do you believe that Poland could play a strategic role in the event of troubles in the Far East?
  5. Do you think the US should strengthen the Polish military, as we have been doing in Israel?

On April 10, 2010, the Polish Air Force One crashed 3000 feet before the Smolensk military airport, killing the entire Polish delegation traveling to the Katyn Forest for the special ceremony commemorating the 70-th Anniversary of the Katyn Massacre. The Russian Federation conducted the investigation, blamed the Polish pilots for causing the crash, and for over 10 years now has been refusing to return the wreckage of the plane and black boxes to Poland. The scientists, scholars and professionals from many exceptionally respected institutions all over the world, including the United States, concluded that the Russian investigation was grossly falsified. This tragedy was not caused by the pilot error, as the Russians claim, but by several explosions onboard just before landing.

II. On Smolensk and Katyn matters, we, therefore, ask you:

6. Will you pressure the Russian Federation to release the wreckage of the Tu-154-M plane and the black boxes to its rightful owner – Poland?

7. Will you authorize the US intelligence services, NTSB, and other relevant US governmental agencies to release to the Polish investigative bodies all information in their possession on the crash of the Polish Tu-154M in Smolensk, Russia, on April 10, 2010?

8. Would you consider awarding compensation to the family of Wojciech Seweryn, the sculptor of the Katyń Monument in Chicago who was killed in Smoleńsk, for pain and suffering caused by the US lack of effective investigation of Mr. Seweryn’s death?

9. Will you recognize the 1940 Katyn Massacre as the crime of genocide? The massive Katyn Operation conducted by the Soviets against the Polish citizens in 1940, and effectively covered up and suppressed for decades, presents a moral crisis to this day because the moral calculus with respect to this heinous genocide has never been worked out.

Poland is a long-established democracy and a champion of freedom and tolerance. 35 years prior to Magna Carta, a predecessor of the Polish Parliament (Zjazd) in Łęczyca guaranteed specifically what The Magna Carta accomplished later. For centuries many nationals and religious people found liberty and freedom to profess their faith in Poland. This was true in the case of Catholics, Jews, or Protestants.

Unfortunately, in 2018 the US Congress adopted a humiliating and grossly unjust Public Law 115-171 (a/k/a S. 447), which introduces an odd and dangerous precedent, namely a concept of “restitution for heirless property.” The genocide of Poles of all faiths during WWII has no parallel in human history. The Germans intended to exterminate all Poles, Catholics, Jews, or Gypsies. Poland lost over 11 million of its citizens in WWII, (35 million people per 1938 census versus 24 million people per 1946 census). Although out of 11 million people missing some survived the war abroad, Poland lost by far the highest percentage of its population of any country in the world. Today, thanks to the Holocaust Memorial Museum the dramatic situation of Poles of Jewish faith during World War II is very well researched and widely known. Unfortunately, the extent of the suffering of Catholic Poles under German and Soviet occupation in WWII, like the truth about Katyn, has been effectively suppressed for decades. Their dramatic plight in WWII and thereafter only now is being pieced together. In light of the systemic suppression of Polish suffering in WWII, Polish-Americans consider the concept of heirless property restitution claims included in Public Law 115-171 as grossly unconscionable and discriminatory towards Polish victims of Christian faith.

Poland has a good inheritance law, no different than American, British, or French. Polish-Americans are in favor of good private property restitution law in line with Western legal tradition. The properties should be returned to their rightful owners, or their legal successors, either by blood succession or lawful will. However, heirless properties always escheat to the state in all civilized countries. No religious, ethnic, social or other organizations should claim rights to heirless properties.

III. On Holocaust restitution matters, we therefore ask you:

  1. Would you support an amendment of the US Public Law 115-171 to eliminate the disastrous concept of heirless property restitution from this legislation?
  2. Would you direct your administration not to pressure Poland on indefensible “heirless property restitution claims” to religious, ethnic, social and other organizations?
  3. Will you appoint the Special Envoy for Genocide of Polish Christians at the US State Department in order to assure that the suppressed voice of Polish victims of Christian faith be properly heard in preparation of annual reports pursuant to P.L. 115-171?
     IV. Finally, will you include Polish-Americans in the top positions of your new Administration?

Thank you for your attention to our concerns. We will appreciate your response to the above questions and we promise to distribute your response widely to all Polish-American communities across the United States.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

Agata Marriott                                                                                   Maria Szonert Binienda

President                                                                                                Chair of the Board

Institute Polonia, Inc.                                                                          Polonia Institute, Inc.

 

 

Mr. Donald J. Trump

President of the United States

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. President,

According to the US Census Bureau, the community of Americans of Polish descent is 13 million strong. The Polonia Institute is one of the most influential Polish-American think tanks. As a privately funded NGO, we conduct in-depth analyses on key issues concerning Polish-Americans, in particular issues affecting our community and matters involving bilateral relations between the United States and Poland.

During the 2016 presidential election campaign, you, Mr. President, made three promises to the Polish-American community:

  1. To heed our opinions.

Unfortunately, we have not seen Polish-Americans in top positions in your Administration.

  1. To help Poland recover from the Russian Federation the wreckage of the Polish Tu-154M, which crashed in Smolensk, Russia, on April 10, 2010, killing the President of Poland, the top Polish leadership, and everybody on board. Sadly, this promise has not been fulfilled.

The Smolensk disaster remains of key importance to the Polish-Americans also because Wojciech Seweryn, a US citizen, died in this disaster. He was a representative of the Polish-Americans traveling with the official Polish delegation for the commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of the 1940 Katyń Massacre. His sudden death in the most unusual circumstances in Smolensk, near Katyn, remains unsettled to this day. Any sudden death of an American citizen abroad requires thorough investigation. The US did not conduct any investigation in this matter and did not provide any help to his family. On the contrary, the wife, children and grandchildren of Wojciech Seweryn have been subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment for the past 10 years.

  1. To include the Republic of Poland into the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
    We are grateful to you for fulfilling this promise! We truly appreciate your personal support for this matter and are happy that Poland is finally included in the Visa Waiver Program. Thank you!

The Polish-American community highly values promises given by a candidate for the President of the United States during the election campaign. In the upcoming 2020 Presidential Elections, Polish-Americans stand ready to provide a pivotal support to a presidential candidate who promises his support for issues of primary concern to our community.

In 2014 leaders of the Polish-American Community called on President Obama to strengthen bilateral security relations between the USA and Poland. They called for a stronger US military presence in Poland, the crucial country on the Eastern flank of NATO. The decisions made at the 2016 Warsaw NATO Summit met some of our expectations.

We, at the Polonia Institute, believe that Poland should have the same special relationship with the United States as granted to the United Kingdom and Israel. We share the same values and the same concerns. Moreover, Poland defends US interests in Europe, as an exceptionally trusted and valued ally and partner.

Today, the Russian Federation represents a serious threat to Poland.  We are grateful for your recent decisions to increase US military presence in Poland and look forward to further military cooperation between Poland and the US.

I. On security matters, we therefore ask you:

  1. Do you support further enhancement of a strong US military presence in Poland?
  2. How would you support the Intermarium / Three Seas initiative?
  3. Do you plan to introduce stronger sanctions against entities involved in the Nord Stream II pipeline project?
  4. Do you believe that Poland could play a strategic role in the event of troubles in the Far East?
  5. Do you think the US should strengthen the Polish military, as we have been doing in Israel?

On April 10, 2010, the Polish Air Force One crashed 3000 feet before the Smolensk military airport, killing the entire Polish delegation traveling to the Katyn Forest for the special ceremony commemorating the 70-th Anniversary of the Katyn Massacre. The Russian Federation conducted the investigation, blamed the Polish pilots for causing the crash, and for over 10 years now has been refusing to return the wreckage of the plane and black boxes to Poland. The scientists, scholars and professionals from many exceptionally respected institutions all over the world, including the United States, concluded that the Russian investigation was grossly falsified. This tragedy was not caused by the pilot error, as the Russians claim, but by several explosions onboard just before landing.

II. On Smolensk and Katyn matters, we therefore ask you:

6. Will you pressure the Russian Federation to release a wreckage of the Tu-154-M plane and the black boxes to its rightful owner – Poland?

7. Will you authorize the US intelligence services, NTSB, and other relevant US governmental agencies to release to the Polish investigative bodies all information in their possession on the crash of the Polish Tu-154M in Smolensk, Russia, on April 10, 2010?

8. Would you consider awarding compensation to the family of Wojciech Seweryn, the sculptor of the Chicago Katyń Monument killed in Smoleńsk, for pain and suffering caused by US lack of effective investigation of Mr. Seweryn’s death?

9. Will you recognize the 1940 Katyn Massacre as the crime of genocide? The Katyn Operation conducted by the Soviets against the Polish citizens in 1940, and effectively covered up and suppressed for decades, presents a moral crisis to this day because the moral calculus with respect to this heinous genocide has never been worked out.

Your visit, Mr. President, to Warsaw in July 2017 to pay tribute to the victims of the biggest urban genocide of WWII and your epoch speech at the 1944 Warsaw Uprising Monument is greatly appreciated by the Americans of Polish descent. You, Mr. President, gave us hope to fulfill promises that the Great President Ronald Reagan pledged before.

Poland is a long-established democracy and a champion of freedom and tolerance. 35 years prior to Magna Carta, a predecessor of the Polish Parliament (Zjazd) in Łęczyca guaranteed what The Magna Carta accomplished later. For centuries many nationals and people of faith found liberty and freedom to profess their faith in Poland. This was true in the case of Christians, Jews or Muslims.

Unfortunately, in 2018 the US Congress adopted and you, Mr. President, signed into law a humiliating and grossly unjust Public Law 115-171 (a/k/a S. 447), which introduces an odd and dangerous precedent, namely a concept of “heirless property restitution.” The genocide of Poles of all faiths during WWII has no parallel in human history. The German plan was to exterminate all Poles, Catholics, Jews, or Gypsies. Poland lost over 11 million of its citizens in WWII, (35 million people per 1938 census versus 24 million people per 1946 census). Although out of 11 million people missing some survived the war abroad, Poland lost by far the highest percentage of its population of any country in the world. Today, thanks to the Holocaust Memorial Museum the dramatic situation of Polish citizens of Jewish faith during World War II is very well researched and widely known. Unfortunately, the extent of the suffering of Christian Poles under German and Soviet occupation in WWII, like the truth about Katyn, has been effectively suppressed for decades. Their dramatic plight in WWII and thereafter only now is being pieced together. In light of the systemic suppression of Polish suffering in WWII, Polish-Americans consider the concept of heirless property restitution claims included in Public Law 115-171 as grossly unconscionable and discriminatory towards Polish victims of Christian faith.

Poland has a good inheritance law, no different than American, British, or French. Polish-Americans are in favor of good private property restitution law in line with Western legal tradition. The properties should be returned to their rightful owners, or their legal successors, either by blood succession or lawful will. However, heirless properties always escheat to the state in all civilized countries. No religious, ethnic, social or other organizations should claim rights to heirless properties.

III. On Holocaust restitution matters, we therefore ask you:

10. Would you support an amendment of the US Public Law 115-171 to eliminate the disastrous concept of heirless property restitution from this legislation?

11. Would you direct your administration not to pressure Poland on indefensible “heirless property restitution claims” to religious, ethnic, social and other organizations?

12. Will you appoint the Special Envoy for Genocide of Polish Christians at the US State Department in order to assure that the suppressed voice of Polish victims of Christian faith be properly heard in preparation of annual reports pursuant to P.L. 115-171

IV. Finally, will you include Polish-Americans in the top positions of your new Administration?

Thank you for your attention to our concerns. We are pleased to see many Polish-Americans actively participating in your re-election campaign right now.  Therefore, we will appreciate your response to the above questions and we promise to distribute your response widely to all Polish-American communities across the United States.

 

Sincerely yours,

 

Agata Marriott                                                                        Maria Szonert Binienda

President                                                                                      Chair of the Board

Institute Polonia, Inc.                                                               Polonia Institute, Inc.

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