Aussie Jew owns Polish church after court battle

An Australian Jew now owns a Catholic church in Poland after a court found the local church acted in bad faith in acquiring the land.

Dr Ann Drillich from Melbourne was declared the rightful owner of a 4.7 hectare site in Tarnów, an hour’s drive east of Kraków.

The land, upon which the church of Our Lady of the Scapular sits, had belonged to Dr Drillich’s family before World War II.

After the Nazis invaded Poland, Dr Drillich’s mother, Blanka Goldman-Drillich,was sheltered by a local Catholic family, the Poetschkes.

The Poetschkes were Catholics with German roots and had been renting part of the Goldman estate, the Saturday Paper website reported.

After the Nazis killed what they thought was the last of the Goldmans, the Poetschkes hid Blanka in the basement of Goldman House while they lived upstairs.

After the war, Jerzy Poetschke went on to have a media career as a “Righteous Pole”, an award given to Gentiles who risked their lives to save Jews.

Blanka Goldman-Drillich committed suicide in Australia several years after the war, when Dr Drillich was 13.

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.

But he had sent a condolence note to her family after her suicide.

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 pocketed 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.

Further legal action will eventually determine the amount of compensation payable, which could be about A$2.0 million – much of which will go towards Dr Drillich’s legal expenses.


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