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The Polish government has announced that it will seek $1.3 trillion in reparations from Germany following the Nazi invasion and occupation of Poland for five years. The Second World War.
“We will look to Germany to open negotiations on reparations,” Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland’s Law and Justice Party, said Thursday, according to a Washington Post article.
Kaczynski’s comments came at a ceremony revealing the results of a report on the cost of Nazi Germany’s invasion and occupation of Poland. The findings of the report, which has been compiled by more than 30 economists, historians and other experts since 2017, were released on the same day Poland marked the 83rd anniversary of the invasion of Poland and the start of World War II. in Europe.
“We not only prepared the report but also made the decision on the next steps,” Kaczynski said at the ceremony, noting that the process of obtaining reparations from neighboring Germany will be a “long and not easy” but “one day will bring success.”
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Kaczynski said that “true Polish-German reconciliation” would be achieved through the German payment to Poland, which he argued the great German economy is capable of doing.
The report and the demands have caused tension between Germany and Poland, Germany arguing that it already paid Eastern Bloc countries after World War II. The German Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that the country’s official position had not changed and that “the question of reparations was settled”.
“A long time ago, in 1953, Poland waived further reparations and repeatedly confirmed this waiver,” the ministry said in a statement to The Associated Press. “It is an important basis for today’s European order. Germany politically and morally assumes its responsibility in the Second World War.”
But Poland counters that its former socialist governmentwhich was largely influenced by the Soviet Union, did not demand enough from Germany, which the Polish government blames for the loss of infrastructure, industry, agriculture, culture and 5.2 million of lives.
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“Germany has never really been accountable for its crimes against Poland,” Kaczynski said.
Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Thursday the war was “one of the most terrible tragedies” in the country’s history.
“Not only because it took away our freedom, not only because it took away our state, but also because this war caused millions of victims among Polish citizens and irreparable losses for our homeland and our nation,” Duda said.
Dietmar Nietan, head of the German government for German-Polish cooperation, said that the anniversary of The invasion of Germany of Poland “remains a day of guilt and shame for Germany which repeatedly reminds us not to forget the crimes perpetrated by Germany”, but maintained that the reconciliation of the Polish people is “the basis on which we can look to the future together in a united Europe.”
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Meanwhile, Grzegorz Schetyna, an opposition party MP, said the calls for reparations and the report were a “game of domestic politics” while calling for good relations with Germany.