Poland won’t give up on German war reparations

Edited by walterp on . Posted in Politics

“We want to begin work in the Polish parliament that will result in an analysis of the estimated amount that Germany owes Poland,” the committee’s presiding lawmaker Arkadiusz Mularczyk told the Polish news agency PAP.

Photo: Chancellor Angela Merkel with Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo earlier this year in Warsaw.

The member of the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party added that there is no set date for the committee to produce its results.

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert responded that the issue had already been settled when “Poland made a binding decision in August 1953… to relinquish demands for further war reparations.”

Photo: Hitler meets Polish Foreign minister Josef Beck in 1939.

In addition, there is documented evidence that Poland bears its share of responsibility for the outbreak of the war by refusing to negotiate a diplomatic settlement regarding the return to Germany of the German city of Danzig, access to German East Prussia and protection of ethnic Germans in Poland.

The issue of war reparations was revived in July by PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski. Earlier this month Prime Minister Beata Szydlo said Warsaw “has the right” to ask for reparations.

Signed by Warsaw’s communist authorities, the 1953 agreement on reparations renounced further claims against Germany.

But the PiS government disputes the validity of the post-war deal, saying it was made under the diktat of the Soviet Union.

Earlier this month the heads of state of Germany and Poland agreed that a “calm discussion” was necessary to address the issue.

Poland’s foreign and interior ministers have estimated potential reparations reaching as high as $1 trillion (850 billion euros).

During World War II, Poland suffered the brunt of a two-front attack by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Photo: Wehrmacht invades Poland.

According to a survey published last month, 51 percent of Poles oppose any reparation claims against Germany, while 24 percent are in favor.

Poland’s powerful Roman Catholic church warned earlier this month that “poor decisions” by the country’s right-wing leaders could “undermine” ties with Germany.

The talk of reparations comes as the PiS government is under fire both at home and abroad over a slew of reforms that critics say erodes democratic standards and the rule of law.

 

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