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According to figures recently released by the Polish government, the Communists nationalized or seized nearly $50 billion in private assets after 1945. Poland is the only Eastern European country that has not passed a law mandating return of the assets to 170,000 rightful owners and heirs; restitution bills failed in 1991 and 1993.

Legislation proposed in late 1999 would have compensated all affected Poles - including those that fled the country after the war for the U.S., Canada, Western Europe and Israel - but a modification proposed in early 2000 restricts payments only to current citizens who have lived in-country for the past five years.

Information on Holocaust-era dormant bank accounts and unpaid insurance policies is available at: http://www.prezydent.pl/nowosci/konta.html or http://www.president.pl/en (English).

Citizens who have Holocaust-era claims should contact the Simon Wiesenthal Center, 9750 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90035. Phone: (800) 900-9036; or visit their web site at: http://www.wiesenthal.com.

Poles whose property may have been confiscated between 1939 and 1945 by the Custodian for Enemy Property should check to see if compensation is available pursuant to a Payment Scheme set up in 1999 by the British Government. Go to: www.enemyproperty.gov.uk for details.