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Feb 28, 2024

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What Impedes Poland’s Accession
To The Visa Waiver Program?

by John Czop

The short answer to this question is that the opponents of the Polish American lobby have more clout than we do.  We need to strengthen our lobby now.

Lobbying, the effort to influence legislation under consideration by Congress and its implementation by the executive branch of our government, is the way horizontally organized interest groups participate in our political system.  Our democratic republic is based on vertical, or geographical, representation by officials elected by individuals as citizens of the 50 States. Each of these States has a special interest which its Members of the House of Representatives and Senators assert vis-a-vis the Federal Government.  All of us are also members of groups whose members live and vote in more than one Congressional District.  Lobbies represent us as members of groups.  The general interest of Americans changes over time because it is the result, political brokerage as expressed in legislation or executive action, among the several competing interest groups that struggle to control policy.  Interest groups that do not engage in this competition, or do so languidly, will become irrelevant.

Some examples of lobbies are nationally organized labor unions, management associations, professional organizations, kin country advocacy groups, and many other special interest groups. Without lobbies, there is no political representation, in the sense of political brokerage, for citizens who belong to groups whose membership lives and votes in more than one State.

Our system of political brokerage is competitive.  This is what makes our political system self-correcting. The general interest, which is always subject to correction or to revision, emerges as the result of this never-ending debate and competition in which lobbies that advocate interests opposed to each other struggle to influence our governmental policy making.  For example, nationally organized labor unions compete with management associations to influence legislation.  Green lobbies challenge the lobbies of some mining companies in meetings with the staffers of Members of Congress who serve on key committees which draft legislation. The Polish American lobby, the Polish American Congress, has two opponents: politically organized Jewry and the increasingly powerful lobby for the Russian Federation, which we will consider in a future article.

At the October 2010 Polish American Congress Council of National Directors Meeting in Chicago, the National Vice President for American Affairs, Dean Anthony Bajdek, registered his expert opinion that:  Poland’s accession to the United States Department of State’s Visa Waiver Program is being blocked by the United States Government until Poland pays lump-sum compensation for World War II era private property.

Readers recall that all World War II era private property claims by United States citizens against Poland were settled by bi-lateral treaty in 1960.  Today, the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Holocaust Issues, the Congressional Caucus on Poland, and the United States Helsinki Commission are pressuring the Polish Government to enact lump-sum compensation for private property on conquered Polish territory despoiled by Nazi Germany and then nationalized by the communists.  Approximately 20% of the private property at issue was owned by Jews; 80% by non-Jews.

99% of the political pressure on the United States Government to bully Poland into paying lump-sum compensation comes from the international Holocaust Industry, with the New York City based conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany as the leading pressure group.  The United States Government is calling on Poland to pay $50 billion in compensation for property formerly owned by Jews, and if non-Jewish claimants are compensated at this rate, then the total amounts to $250 billion.  Poland’s GDP in 2011 was approximately $550 billion.

On March 17, 2011 the Polish Government announced that it was suspending work on drafting legislation on lump-sum compensation for World War II era private property claims.  Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski encouraged claimants to have recourse to the Polish courts.  Each claim, the Foreign Minister observed, is unique, and the courts should make their decisions on a case-by-case basis.  Moreover, Foreign Minister Sikorski reminded us that the time for the United States Government to have helped European Jewry was in 1942, after Jan Karski informed FDR that Nazi Germany was prosecuting the mass murder of Jews on conquered Polish territory.

Polish Americans should support the Polish Government’s decision of March 17, 2011.  There is growing momentum to enact a Polish American Congress resolution praising the Polish Government for doing what is right and for challenging unwarranted pressure by the United Sates Government on Poland to pay for crimes committed by Nazi Germany and the communists, not by the Polish State (the name of the government of Poland based in London), on conquered Polish territory during World War II.