On Thursday, Poland released a massive report detailing $1.3 trillion in damages by its German neighbours during the Second World War. The report was released on the anniversary of the Nazi invasion and brutal occupation of Poland in 1939.
The leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party Jarosław Kaczyński, announced that the country would be filing for reparations from Germany.
In response, Germany, which continues to distance itself from its Nazi predecessors and the occupation of Poland, stated that it has no intention of paying any sort of reparations to Poland.
The German Foreign Ministry stated that the matter of reparations “concluded” long ago, insisting that it had already paid its dues in the years after the war.
“The position of the German government is unchanged, the question of reparations has been concluded,” stated the ministry in an email, according to Reuters.
A spokesperson added:
Poland renounced further reparations a long time ago, in 1953, and has several times confirmed this renunciation. This is a basic foundation basis for today's European order. Germany stands by its political and moral responsibility for the Second World War.
As Germany notes, the country had a prior agreement with Poland’s then-communist leadership, which renounced their demands for reparation due to pressure from the Soviet Union, which also controlled East Germany.
Polish leadership contends that the agreement is invalid because it was made under duress during its occupation by communists, and it never received compensation from Germany following the war.
In a statement by Kaczyński, the Polish party leader acknowledged that while Germany was unlikely to comply to Poland’s demands, “sometimes you have to fight for such causes for many years. We can’t promise a speedy resolution of the matter. All we are saying is that this is our duty to Poland to put right something that should have been done a long time ago.”
Kaczyński said that the report arrived at the $1.3 trillion sum using “the most conservative estimates,” adding that it is one Germany could afford to pay over a period of time. He pointed out that Germany only finished its Great War reparation payments to France 10 years ago.
“The report on the damages has been in preparation for more than five years under the auspices of a parliamentary group. It was prepared by 30 economists, historians, and surveyors and reviewed by 10 experts,” Remix News reported.
He stated that the claim did not include any damages caused by the Soviets, but it includes the over five million Poles who died as a result of the German invasion and occupation. He pointed out that many of those who were killed were Polish Jews, and that he would welcome cooperation from Israel in pursuing reparations from Germany.
The Polish party leader says that part of the reparations demand is to force Germany to account for its crimes and to ensure that German’s remember what they did, so that such horrors can never be allowed to happen again.