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Polish deputy FM says there's 'scope for cooperation' with US on WWII damages from Germany

02.02.2023 07:00
A Polish deputy foreign minister has said that there is potential for cooperation between Poland and the United States as Warsaw seeks compensation for World War II from Germany.
Arkadiusz Mularczyk.
Arkadiusz Mularczyk.PAP/Albert Zawada

Arkadiusz Mularczyk made the statement at a media briefing in Washington on Wednesday, Polish state news agency PAP reported. 

‘A lot of interest' in Poland’s push for WWII damages from Germany

Earlier in the day, Mularczyk held talks on the issue of World War II damages with US lawmakers and a State Department official, according to the PAP news agency. 

Mularczyk told reporters: “We believe there is scope for discussion, for examining these historical and political issues that influence the life of our country today. I have to say I am surprised, because there is a lot of interest [among US politicians] in the problem and in our report on Poland’s wartime losses caused by Germany.” 

'Scope for cooperation’

He added: “We see scope for cooperation on this issue with Congressmen and senators from both parties.”

Mularczyk said he had spoken to about a dozen US politicians from the two main parties, including Republican Senator Ted Cruz. 

He said both he and his "American interlocutors" had suggested “several possible avenues of action,” but added it was too early for details. 

Mularczyk said: “Many Congressmen were surprised that Germany had never paid war reparations to Poland ... Here in the United States, where property rights are so strong … many Congressmen were shocked that Germany had robbed Poland and hadn’t paid compensation to this day.” 

The Polish diplomat added: “And so it was a cognitive shock and I see scope for cooperation here, because Germany’s conduct is incompatible with the standards of the rule of law and the protection of human rights. I deeply hope that step by step, week after week, month after month, we will cooperate on this issue, but this requires time.”

Support for Ukraine

Mularczyk said he had had “a good discussion” with Dereck Hogan, who serves as Acting Assistant Secretary at the US Department of State.

He added that Hogan had stressed the need for “Western unity amid the events in Ukraine.”

Mularczyk told reporters: “I stressed that the issue of reparations does not affect relations within NATO and the European Union. It’s a historical problem that needs to be resolved. Everyone is united in supporting Ukraine and in not letting other issues interfere with this.”

He also said that US politicians had declared they were ready to keep supporting Ukraine and “expressed appreciation for Poland’s role in this effort,” the PAP news agency reported.

Talks at the UN

Following discussions in Washington, Mularczyk was set to arrive in New York on Thursday for two days of meetings at the United Nations, reporters were told. 

The Polish deputy foreign minister was expected to discuss potential cooperation with the UN in securing World War II damages from Germany, according to PAP.  

Mularczyk was scheduled to speak with UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ deputies responsible for human rights and European affairs, officials said. 

Poland demands WWII damages from Germany

Mularczyk’s visit to the United States, which also includes a meeting with members of America’s Polish community in Chicago, is part of Poland’s push to secure compensation from Germany for World War II. 

In September last year, 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.

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

According to the German government, "the issue of reparations and compensation for World War II losses remains closed” and Berlin "does not intend to enter into negotiations on the matter," officials have said.  


Source: PAP, niezalezna.pl