Poland Wants Huge War Reparations From Germany

Government to seek $1.3T, but Germany says the matter is long closed
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 1, 2022 11:40 AM CDT
Poland to Germany: You Still Owe Us From WWII
This photo shows two soldiers making their way through the gutted city of Warsaw, Poland, in September 1945.   (AP Photo/Henry Griffin)

Poland will seek the equivalent of some $1.3 trillion in reparations from Germany for the Nazis' World War II invasion and occupation of the country. Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the ruling Law and Justice party, announced the huge claim at the release of a long-awaited report on the cost to the country of years of Nazi German occupation, per the AP. "We will turn to Germany to open negotiations on the reparations," Kaczynski said, adding it will be a "long and not ... easy path" but "one day will bring success." Germany, however, is already balking.

The German Foreign Ministry said Thursday the government's position remains "unchanged" in that "the question of reparations is concluded." In a statement, the ministry asserted that "Poland long ago, in 1953, waived further reparations and has repeatedly confirmed this waiver." Poland's right-wing government, however, argues that the country has not been fully compensated by neighboring Germany, which is now one of its major partners within the European Union. 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. Five years of brutal occupation followed.

The war was "one of the most terrible tragedies in our history," President Andrzej Duda said during morning observances at the Westerplatte peninsula near Gdansk, one of the first places to be attacked in 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 said. A team of more than 30 economists, historians, and other experts has worked on the report since 2017. (Read more Poland stories.)

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