Poland wants to “negotiate” with Berlin reparations for World War II losses, which it estimates at 1,300 billion euros

Poland wants to “negotiate” with Berlin reparations for World War II losses, which it estimates at 1,300 billion euros
Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of Poland's ruling party, at a ceremony marking the anniversary of World War II, in Warsaw, September 1, 2022.

Poland asked Germany on Thursday 1er September, from ” to negotiate “ World War II reparations. It estimated the financial cost of its losses at 1.3 trillion euros.

During a conference devoted to the presentation of a report on Polish losses during the Second World War, a total amount of 6,200 billion zlotys (1,300 billion euros) was mentioned. Of this total, “a very important part is the compensation for the death of more than 5.2 million Polish citizens”underlined the leader of the ruling party, PiS (Law and Justice), Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

The recovery process for these repairs will be “long and difficult”, added Mr. Kaczynski. According to the report, 2.1 million Polish citizens were deported for work in Nazi Germany, with each worker working there for an average of two years and nine months.

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Material losses amounting to 170 billion euros

As a result of the war, pseudo-medical experiments and detention in concentration camps, 590,000 Polish citizens were disabled. In the years 1939-1945, Poland lost 50% of lawyers, 40% of doctors and 35% of university professors.

On the other hand, the material losses were estimated at 800 billion zlotys (170 billion euros). Losses related to cultural and artistic assets were assessed at 19 billion zlotys (4 billion euros). Those of the banking sector were estimated at 89.3 billion zlotys (18.9 billion euros) and those of the insurance sector at 34.8 billion zlotys (7.3 billion euros).

Since coming to power in 2015, PiS has often raised the issue of reparations. Work on this report began in 2017. “We have not only prepared a report, which is an open document and will certainly be completed, but we have also taken a decision, a decision on further actionMr. Kaczynski added, and this action consists in asking Germany to negotiate these reparations. And it is a decision that we will implement. »

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“The issue of reparations is closed”

“The Germans invaded Poland and did enormous damage to us. The Occupation was incredibly criminal, incredibly cruel and caused effects that in many cases continue to this day.”said the president of PiS.

According to Germany, Poland had waived war reparations from East Germany in 1953, which Polish conservatives dispute. Berlin therefore rejected the Polish demands on Thursday, considering that this question was “closed”. “The position of the federal government has not changed, the question of reparations is closed”said a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Poland waived further reparations a long time ago, in 1953, and has confirmed this waiver on several occasions”he repeated.

For the Polish liberal opposition, the report is mainly intended for domestic political purposes, one year before the general elections. “The PiS initiative on war reparations has appeared for several years whenever the PiS needs to build a political narrative”said Donald Tusk, president of the Civic Platform, the main opposition party.

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“It is not about any reparations from Germany, but about a political campaign” in Poland, he said, believing that Jaroslaw Kaczynski wanted “rebuild the support of the ruling party on this anti-German campaign”. “Kaczynski himself said it will take generations, so it’s not about money for the Poles”said Mr. Tusk again.

The World with AFP

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