Polish ruling party leader Kaczynski demands WWII reparations from Germany
“This is a Polish-Germany issue, I mean it was Germany who invaded Poland, murdering millions of people, destroying material goods, and we must be compensated for this,” Kaczynski, who is considered to be one of the most powerful men in Poland and an influential official in the EU, said in an interview with Polskie Radio 24 on Friday.
The issue of reparations has been raised by a number of Polish politicians in recent years, including former defense minister Antoni Macierewicz and former prime minister Beata Szydlo.
In September 2017, Poland set up a parliamentary investigative committee to calculate the amount of World War II reparations the country believes Germany owes the country. Berlin, however, dismissed Warsaw’s demands, saying that it already paid “considerable reparations for overall war damages” to Poland.
“Poland made a binding decision in August 1953... to relinquish demands for further war reparations… this issue was therefore settled both legally and politically,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said at that time.
Poland was invaded by the Nazis in 1939, and the first mass executions took place in the occupied territory during the same year, according to data from the Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN). Prior to World War II, around three million Jews lived in Poland, but only 300,000 of them remained by the end of the ruthless conflict. “As a result of the war, occupation, extermination of the Jews, and displacement of population caused by territorial policies, the population of Poland decreased from about 35 million to around 24 million, which is comparable to the population in the late 19th century,” IPN states.
Poland is not the only country to demand WWII reparations. In 2015, Greece said that Germany owed it no less than €278.7 billion (US$330 billion) in war damages. Berlin, however, said it already paid Greece in the 1950s and also paid victims of Nazi crimes in the early 1960s, thus denying that it owes Athens any more money.
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