Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Poland: Catholic Church willingly participated in a scam to steal Holocaust survivor's land

Via The Saturday Paper:
On April 21, Ann Drillich had a rare legal victory. A Polish court found the Catholic Church acted in “bad faith” when it got hold of 8500 square metres of her family’s “abandoned” land – that is, the church stole it. It’s left her in an unusual position. Drillich is a Jew who owns a Polish church.
Thirty years ago the Catholic Church built a large brick house of worship, Our Lady of the Scapular, in the mediaeval city of Tarnów, an hour’s drive east of Kraków. The diocese of Tarnów now claims to be the most pious in all Poland, measured by attendance at Mass, but souls here are not resting easy. In 2011 a local news outlet reported “dark clouds” had gathered over the city and Our Lady of the Scapular. A parish priest had given a “highly emotional” sermon to parishioners, but would not speak about it publicly. It turns out the sermon was not about loving thy neighbour or avoiding sin. After an anonymous online post warned Tarnów that Jews are their worst nightmare, the story took shape: it was about a Jew, theft and the very land on which the worshippers and their church stood.

Not for the first time, a man of the cloth delivered worshippers a sermon instead of a confession.

The Jew unsettling Tarnów’s fragile equilibrium was Drillich, a dual citizen of Poland and Australia, and the rightful owner of 4.7 hectares of Tarnów’s real estate. A fastidious keeper of records, Drillich teaches medical students to be diligent, documenting doctors.

These skills have been crucial in her family’s long, expensive and emotionally gruelling battle to regain property stolen from the Polish estate of her late mother, the Holocaust survivor Blanka Goldman-Drillich.


Blanka’s family inherited her estate, and continued to trust Jerzy to administer it, paying him accordingly. Jerzy would later tell authorities he didn’t know if Blanka was dead or alive. It was one of many lies.

In 1986, Jerzy collaborated with Bishop Piotr Bednarczyk in a scam facilitated by church lawyers. Jerzy gained title to part of the Goldman-Drillich estate claiming it was “abandoned land” although he administered it through a power of attorney on behalf of the family. He then “donated” half to the church and trousered payment for the other half. Based on submitted evidence, including letters sent from the bishop to the Drillich family, the court decided that relevant Parish representatives knew that Poetschke was not legally entitled to the property.

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