Poland Demands $1.3 Trillion War Reparations From Germany

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s high politician stated Thursday that the federal government will search equal of some $1.3 trillion in reparations from Germany for the Nazis’ World War II invasion and occupation of his nation.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, chief of the Legislation and Justice occasion, introduced the massive declare on the launch of a long-awaited report on the fee to the nation of years of Nazi German occupation because it marks 83 years because the begin of World War II.

“We not only prepared the report but we have also taken the decision as to the further steps,” Kaczynski stated in the course of the report’s presentation.

“We will turn to Germany to open negotiations on the reparations,” Kaczynski stated, including will probably be a “long and not an easy path” however “one day will bring success.”

He insisted the transfer would serve “true Polish-German reconciliation” that may be primarily based on “truth.”

He claimed the German financial system is able to paying the invoice.

Germany argues compensation was paid to East Bloc nations within the years after the conflict whereas territories that Poland misplaced within the East as borders had been redrawn had been compensated with a few of Germany’s pre-war lands. Berlin calls the matter closed.

Germany’s Overseas Ministry stated Thursday the federal government’s place stays “unchanged” in that “the question of reparations is concluded.”

“Poland long ago, in 1953, waived further reparations and has repeatedly confirmed this waiver,” the ministry stated in an emailed response to a Related Press question in regards to the new Polish report.

“This is a significant basis for today’s European order. Germany stands by its responsibility for World War II politically and morally.”

Poland’s right-wing authorities argues that the nation which was the conflict’s first sufferer has not been totally compensated by neighboring Germany, which is now certainly one of its main companions inside the European Union.

“Germany has never really accounted for its crimes against Poland,“ Kaczynski said, claiming that many Germans who committed war crimes lived in impunity in Germany after the war.

Top leaders including Kaczynski, who is Poland’s chief policy maker, and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki attended the ceremonial release of the report at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, rebuilt from wartime ruins.

The release of the three-volume report was the focus of national observances of the anniversary of the war that began Sep. 1, 1939, with Nazi Germany’s bombing and invasion of Poland that was followed by more than five years of brutal occupation.

The head of the report team, lawmaker Arkadiusz Mularczyk, said it was impossible to place a financial value on the loss of some 5.2 million lives he blamed on the German occupation.

He listed losses to the infrastructure, industry, farming, culture, deportations to Germany for forced labor and efforts to turn Polish children into Germans.

A team of more than 30 economists, historians and other experts worked on the report since 2017. The issue has created bilateral tensions.

The war was “one of the most terrible tragedies in our history,” President Andrzej Duda stated throughout early morning observances on the Westerplatte peninsula close to Gdansk, one of many first locations to be attacked within the Nazi invasion.

“Not only because it took our freedom, not only because it took our state from us, but also because this war meant millions of victims among Poland’s citizens and irreparable losses to our homeland and our nation,” Duda stated.

In Germany, the federal government’s official for German-Polish cooperation, Dietmar Nietan, stated in an announcement that Sept. 1 “remains a day of guilt and shame for Germany that reminds us time and again not to forget the crimes carried out by Germany” which can be the “darkest chapter in our history” and nonetheless have an effect on bilateral relations.

Reconciliation provided by folks in Poland is “the basis on which we can look toward the future together in a united Europe,” Nietan stated.

Poland’s authorities rejects a 1953 declaration by the nation’s then-communist leaders, beneath strain from the Soviet Union, agreeing to not make any additional claims on Germany.

An opposition lawmaker, Grzegorz Schetyna, says the report is only a “game in the internal politics” and insists Poland must construct good relations with Berlin.

In a rustic the place bullet holes from the conflict may nonetheless be seen on homes not so way back, current surveys have proven that Polish public opinion is roughly equally divided on the difficulty of reparations. Many households nonetheless preserve alive recollections of relations misplaced within the conflict.

Some 6 million of Poland’s residents, together with 3 million Jews, had been killed within the conflict. A few of them had been victims of the Soviet Crimson Military that invaded from the east.

AP writers Frank Jordans and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed.