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Issue of WWII damages from Germany still open: Polish deputy FM in Berlin

06.12.2022 20:00
A Polish deputy foreign minister has said that "there are no grounds to conclude" that the issue of World War II compensation from Germany is closed.
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Arkadiusz Mularczyk meets reporters in Berlin on Tuesday, December 6, 2022.
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Arkadiusz Mularczyk meets reporters in Berlin on Tuesday, December 6, 2022.PAP/DPA/Christoph Soeder

Arkadiusz Mularczyk made the statement at a news conference in Berlin on Tuesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

He arrived in the German capital earlier in the day for a two-day working visit.

While in Berlin, Mularczyk intends to hold talks with German politicians “on difficult issues in Polish-German relations,” he told the briefing.

‘No grounds to conclude the issue of compensation for WWII is closed’ 

Speaking about Poland's push for compensation from Germany for World War II, Mularczyk said: “We can’t accept the  stance of the German government, which says it feels morally responsible for the consequences of World War II, but not politically or economically.”

Mularczyk added: “There are no grounds to conclude that the issue [of compensation for Poland’s WWII losses caused by Germany] is closed in the legal sense, because under international law, there is no statute of limitations on war crimes. Moreover, no international court ever closed this matter effectively.”

“And so we are demanding dialogue on this issue, and we are also demanding a fitting memorial in Berlin for the Polish victims, more than 5.2 million citizens,” Mularczyk told reporters. 

Poland waiting for German reply to diplomatic note 

He also said that “to this day, the Polish government has not received a reply to its diplomatic note” demanding compensation from Berlin for losses Poland suffered during Nazi Germany's WWII invasion and occupation.

Mularczyk told reporters: “During my meetings I will be asking whether or not the Polish government will receive an answer. Obviously our next steps will depend on whether or not we receive a response.”

He noted that Poland last month sent a diplomatic note to about 50 NATO, European Union and Council of Europe countries to brief them on its efforts to secure compensation from Germany for World War II. 

“We wish to discuss and settle this matter with Germany on the basis of law and reconciliation,” Mularczyk said

He added that Poland would “wait a few more weeks” for a reply to its formal note from Germany.

“If there is no reply, we will take steps internationally,” he declared.

Mularczyk said: “There are organisations of which Poland is a member, such as the United Nations, the European Union, the Council of Europe, as well as organisations such as the OECD or UNESCO … We’ll be briefing all international organisations on this matter, which is not settled.”

He added: “However, it is our deep hope that the German government will decide to start talks with a partner, a friend, a society with whom it is so close, and to settle this issue very quickly.” 

New Polish embassy building to open in Berlin next year

Later on Tuesday, Mularczyk visited the construction site of a new Polish embassy building in Berlin’s historic Unter der Linden avenue. 

The new facility is scheduled to open in a year’s time.

Mularczyk thanked everyone involved in the construction of the new embassy and declared: “For Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, and for our ministry, it is a matter of priority that this new embassy is opened next year to help develop good Polish-German relations.”

Construction work on the new Polish embassy in Berlin's Unter der Linden. Construction work on the new Polish embassy in Berlin. PAP/Marcin Bielecki

Compensation for WWII from Germany ‘top priority’ for Polish gov't 

Mularczyk said at the end of October that the issue of compensation from Germany for World War II losses was a top priority for the government in Warsaw and one of its biggest challenges since the fall of communism in 1989.

Earlier that month, the Polish foreign ministry disclosed that, in its recent diplomatic note to the government in Berlin, it demanded that Germany pay Poland PLN 6.22 trillion (EUR 1.3 trillion) in compensation for World War II losses.

Mularczyk, who is a senior politician with Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, told Polish Radio in late October that statements made by German officials in recent months that the issue of war reparations for Poland was “closed,” were “premature.”

Mularczyk, who led an effort to compile an extensive report on war reparations, told Polish Radio in an interview at the time that the government in Berlin “needs to be given time to carefully examine the diplomatic note on compensation for Poland.”

He added: “These are thorny, complex issues of a political, diplomatic, economic and analytical nature. I believe the German government needs at least a few weeks to conclude that they simply should sit down for talks with Poland soon.”

Mularczyk told Polish Radio earlier in October that Warsaw expected Berlin to reply to the diplomatic note "within two to three months."

Push for WWII damages from Germany

On September 1, Poland's government announced that the losses suffered by the country at the hands of Nazi Germany during World War II totalled PLN 6.22 trillion (EUR 1.3 trillion) and that it would demand compensation from Berlin. 

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said last month: “I am convinced that we will receive reparations from Germany, although it won’t happen quickly.”

He added: “Even the most difficult journey begins with the first step.” 

On October 3, Polish Foreign Minister Zbgniew Rau signed a formal note to the government in Berlin, demanding compensation for losses Poland sustained during the war.

On October 4, Germany's top diplomat Annalena Baerbock said during a visit to Warsaw that the question of WWII reparations for Poland was closed, according to media reports at the time.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was quoted as saying in a media interview in September that the issue of WWII reparations for Poland "has been settled conclusively" under international law. 


Source: IAR, PAP, tvp.info