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Poland to send diplomatic note to Germany over war reparations ‘in weeks’: deputy FM

15.09.2022 17:30
A Polish deputy foreign minister has said that the government will send a formal note to Germany over reparations for World War II “in a matter of weeks.”
Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk.
Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk.PAP/Tomasz Wiktor

Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk made the announcement in the Sejm (lower house of parliament) on Thursday, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.

The deputy foreign minister told MPs that the cabinet “is drafting a diplomatic note to the German government over war reparations.”

The document will be sent “in a matter of weeks,” he added.

Szynkowski vel Sęk stressed that the note would be supplemented with “information for the German public about the scale of German crimes and the reasons why we are issuing a claim for reparations.”

He noted that Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki recently gave interviews on the subject to German media, such as Der Spiegel and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, while Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau and his deputies were also outlining the Polish stance. 

Poland estimates its WWII losses caused by Germany at EUR 1.3 trillion

On September 1, Poland published a report estimating the country’s World War II losses caused by German aggression at EUR 1.3 trillion. 

The leader of Poland's ruling conservatives Law and Justice, Jarosław Kaczyński, said that a decision had been made to raise the issue of World War II reparations with Berlin. 

Kaczyński added: “It’s about securing compensation, maybe through a long and arduous process, for everything that Germany, the German state, the German nation, did to Poland between 1939 and 1945.” 

Report on Poland’s WWII losses handed to Germany

Szynkowski vel Sęk told MPs on Thursday that he had handed “an English version of  the report on Poland’s World War II losses caused by Germany” to a deputy foreign minister in the German federal government. 

Szynkowski vel Sęk also thanked the authors of the report, a group of experts led by an MP with the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, Arkadiusz Mularczyk.

Diplomatic note to be sent to Germany ‘in a few weeks’

Meanwhile, another Polish deputy foreign minister, Paweł Jabłoński, also said that a formal note demanding war reparations from Germany would be sent to the German government “in a few weeks.”

Jabłoński added in an interview with Polish Radio: “In truth, bilateral talks, for instance at the ministerial level, have even more importance than diplomatic notes.”

He said that after issuing the formal note, Warsaw would “inform Western societies about Poland’s losses during World War II and call on the other side to start talks on reparations.”

On Wednesday, Poland’s top diplomat Zbigniew Rau said that the note would be ready “in early October,” according to IAR. 

Polish Sejm calls on Germany to take responsibility for starting WWII

Also on Wednesday, the Polish Sejm (lower house of parliament) adopted a resolution calling on the German government “to explicitly assume political, historical, legal and financial responsibility for all the consequences caused in the Republic of Poland and to the citizens of the Republic of Poland as a result of the German Third Reich starting World War II.”

The resolution, drafted by the ruling Law and Justice party, was approved in a 418-4 vote, with 15 abstentions.

Law and Justice’s Mularczyk said in the Sejm on Thursday that the declaration “will support the diplomatic note to the German government, which is being drafted by the Polish foreign ministry.”

Opposition ‘changed stance on WWII reparations’

The Law and Justice MP also stressed that the resolution passed by a large majority, which “shows that Poland’s main political groupings are in agreement about supporting the idea of securing reparations that we are owed from Germany.”

Mularczyk noted that the opposition Civic Platform “changed its stance on reparations,” throwing its support behind the idea. 

Civic Platform originally claimed that “we are not entitled to reparations because we have renounced them,” the Law and Justice lawmaker pointed out, as cited by the IAR news agency.

His words were echoed by Jabłoński, who also stated that opposition groupings, including Civic Platform and its leader, former PM Donald Tusk, “changed their position on war reparations from Germany.”

The deputy foreign minister added that the opposition’s U-turn on the issue of reparations was “influenced by public opinion.”

Information campaign

Meanwhile, the government las launched an information campaign, titled #bezprzedawNIEnia [“No statute of limitations”] about the losses suffered by Poland as a result of German aggression that began on September 1, 1939. 

Public broadcaster Polish Radio is reporting on the initiative across all its channels, and has also set up a special website, bezprzedawnienia.polskieradio.pl

The website features historical studies, essays and unique audio recordings from Polish Radio’s vast archives, the IAR news agency reported.      


Source: IAR, polskieradio24.pl