Poland demands the equivalent of 1.3 trillion dollars from Germany for the Second World War
WARSAW, Poland (AP) – Poland’s top politician said on Thursday the government would seek reparations equivalent to $1.3 trillion from Germany for the Nazi invasion and occupation of his country in World War II.
Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the Law and Justice Party, announced the massive demand while releasing a long-awaited report on the cost of the country’s years of Nazi German occupation to mark the 83rd anniversary of the start of World War II.
“We not only prepared the report, but also decided on further steps,” said Kaczynski when the report was presented.
“We will turn to Germany to start negotiations on the reparations,” Kaczynski said, adding that it is a “long road and not an easy one” but “will bring success one day.”
Poland’s right-wing government argues that the country, which was the first casualty of the war, was not fully compensated by neighboring Germany, which is now one of its key partners in the European Union.
Germany argues that the Eastern Bloc countries were paid compensation in the years after the war, while the territories Poland lost to the east when the borders were redrawn were compensated with some German pre-war territories. Berlin calls the matter closed.
High-ranking politicians including Kaczynski, Poland’s key policy maker, and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki attended the report’s launch ceremony at Warsaw’s Royal Castle, which has been rebuilt from wartime ruins.
The report’s release was the focus of national celebrations of the anniversary of the war that began on September 1, 1939 with Nazi Germany’s bombing and invasion of Poland and was followed by more than five years of brutal occupation.
A team of around 30 economists, historians and other experts have been working on the report since 2017. The issue has led to bilateral tensions.
The war was “one of the most terrible tragedies in our history,” President Andrzej Duda said during early-morning observations on the Westerplatte peninsula near Gdansk, one of the first places to be attacked in the Nazi invasion.
“Not only because he took away our freedom, not only because he took our state from us, but also because this war meant millions of victims among the citizens of Poland and irreparable losses for our Fatherland and our nation,” said You there.
In Germany, the government commissioner for German-Polish cooperation, Dietmar Nietan, said in a statement that September 1 “remains a day of guilt and shame for Germany, which keeps reminding us not to forget the crimes committed by Germany “. are the “darkest chapter of our history” and still influence bilateral relations.
The reconciliation offered by the people of Poland is “the basis on which we can look to the future together in a united Europe,” said Nietan.
Poland’s government has rejected a 1953 statement by the country’s then-communist leadership under pressure from the Soviet Union and has agreed not to make any further demands on Germany.
Opposition MP Grzegorz Schetyna says the report is just a “domestic politics game” and insists Poland must develop good relations with Berlin.
About 6 million citizens of Poland, including 3 million Jews, were killed in the war, and its industry, infrastructure and culture suffered huge losses.
AP writer Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed.
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