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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 7, 2008 / 1 Adar I 5768

Kraft factory in Poland typifies Holocaust restitution claims

By Greg Burns


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) Kraft Foods entered Poland in the early 1990s, buying a factory that makes the popular Prince Polo chocolate bar, and today its prosperous plant employs 250.


But Kraft Foods Polska S.A. has a history: The same facility in the town of Cieszyn once belonged to a Jewish family, and questions remain about its ownership in the aftermath of Nazi and communist regimes.


Today, Congress is set to take up the latest chapter in Holocaust restitution, through hearings before the House Financial Services Committee on unpaid insurance claims. The testimony, following similar hearings in October, is expected to focus on Poland, among the few European nations with no special legal framework addressing Holocaust claims that amount to billions of dollars.


"Poland is to this day one of the last countries with no restitution or compensation legislation whatsoever," said Gideon Taylor, a top official with the Claims Conference, a Holocaust victims' group.


The chocolate factory is not specifically on the agenda for today, but in many ways it has a typical past, Holocaust advocates say. The Schramek family lost it when German invaders confiscated Jewish-owned property in 1939. It changed hands again in the late 1940s when the communist government of Poland nationalized it. Then a new Polish government sold it to Kraft in 1993, prompting objections from surviving family members, including one who penned a self-published book, "They Stole Our Chocolate Factory."


Advocates contend that companies acquiring confiscated assets "certainly have moral obligations to the former owners," as Taylor put it.


"Kraft should have done due diligence to look at this before they bought the chocolate factory. There should have been a conversation with the family," said Sidney Zabludoff, an economist and activist. "If someone steals something then you try to (buy) it, you're an accomplice."


In a statement, Kraft maintains it owes nothing to the candy plant's previous owners: "We purchased the factory directly from the Polish government in 1993, 45 years after the government had nationalized the facility. We purchased it in good faith as part of Poland's post-Communist privatization program."


Kraft said the Schrameks challenged the 1948 nationalization in Poland, where the judiciary, including its Supreme Administrative Court, "repeatedly upheld the legality of the original nationalization."


Family spokeswoman Lynn Schramek of Pittsford, N.Y., said in a brief interview "a lot" has happened since 2001, when she self-published her book on the plant's history. Schramek would not elaborate, or respond to additional requests for comment, and it is unknown if Kraft or Polish officials have contacted the family recently.


Schramek's book focuses on the memories of her father-in-law, Hans, a Holocaust survivor who died in 2006 at age 86, public records show.


His father and uncle started a cookie-making venture in a basement after graduating from business college in Vienna during the 1920s, according to published reports. The pair expanded into chocolate, and their factory employed as many as 500 in three shifts when Germany occupied Cieszyn 69 years ago. A German official bought the facility from the Nazi government at a steep discount.


Some family members fled, but Hans Schramek remained, interned in a ghetto, then held in concentration camps. In 1950, he and his mother migrated to Cleveland, where he worked in the steel industry.


After Poland's communist government collapsed in 1989, Schramek and a relative hired a Polish attorney to recover family property, reclaiming the title to a house. Philip Morris, at the time Kraft's parent, turned away family inquiries, directing them to the Polish government, according to a published report in 2001.


Before he died, Hans Schramek told the Cleveland Jewish News he did not expect compensation from Poland because of the huge scale of its Holocaust debt: "It would come into the billions of dollars. Poland does not have that money."


The family's book highlights the scarcity of documents needed to validate claims, a common problem in Eastern Europe, a spokesman for the Financial Services Committee noted. "The further you go East, the poorer the records."


Taylor, of the Claims Conference, said companies typically had better paper trails establishing their ownership than certain other property seized in the Holocaust, such as fine art. Over the years, culpable parties such as Germany have paid billions of dollars in compensation.


Congress has raised awareness by holding a series of hearings during the past decade addressing competing property claims in post-communist Europe. Successive U.S. administrations have urged Poland, among other new European democracies, to pass comprehensive laws that do not discriminate among claimants based on citizenship or ethnicity. A spokeswoman for the Polish government did not respond to requests for comment.


The issue has taken on urgency in recent years as Holocaust survivors age, with as many as one-quarter living in poverty, according to testimony in the October hearings.


As it stands, many owners of lost bank accounts, real estate and insurance polices - the subject of today's hearings — have gone uncompensated, noted Samuel Dubbin, a Holocaust victims' lawyer in Miami.


"I hope the disclosures about the unfinished business about insurance restitution will rekindle a sense of outrage," Dubbin said.


Before he died, Schramek had a chance to sample Kraft's Prince Polo bar. He complimented its "very good quality," telling the Cleveland Jewish News: "They probably still use our recipes."


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© 2008, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.