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Polish FM says Germany avoids responsibility for WWII

02.10.2023 13:30
The Polish foreign minister has said that the German government is seeking to avoid compensating Poland for World War II by repeating that the matter is closed and that the present German state has nothing to do with Hitler’s Germany.
Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau.
Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau.PAP/Darek Delmanowicz

Zbigniew Rau made the statement in an interview with the Sieci weekly, published on Monday, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s polskieradio24.pl website reported.

Poland’s top diplomat said that “Poland launched a diplomatic campaign on an unprecedented scale and scope, designed to inform the international community about Poland's claim for compensation from Germany.” 

Rau added that “it came as no surprise” that Germany last year rejected the Polish government’s diplomatic note demanding reparations for World War II.

The Polish foreign minister told Sieci that Poland had been brought to ruin by German aggression and occupation during World War II.

He added that the country was further “damaged by decades of communist rule” and then “depended on German support” for its bids to join NATO and the European Union after the fall of communism in 1989.

Rau argued that Germany "took advantage of this situation," pressuring Poland “to base bilateral relations on an amnesia of history” and to focus on “a shared future in our European home.”

He said German diplomats had told him there would be “serious consequences” if Poland blocked the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline bringing Russian gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea, or if Poland demanded reparations for World War II from Germany.

German officials also suggested that if Poland brought up the issue of war reparations, it could “throw open the issue of Poland’s western border,” according to the Polish foreign minister.

Rau also said in the interview that successive German governments had sought to “reduce the stigma of World War II" by claiming that the present German state has nothing to do with the Nazi German Third Reich, polskieradio24.pl reported.

Warsaw demands WWII damages from Berlin

In April, Poland’s government adopted a resolution “on the need to regulate, in Polish-German relations, the issue of reparations, compensation and redress” for the losses caused by the German invasion and subsequent occupation of Poland during World War II.

The Polish government said the document “confirms that the issue of compensation for the damage and harm caused by Germany during World War II has not been settled in the form of an international agreement between the Republic of Poland and the Federal Republic of Germany, and that such an agreement must be entered into.”

In September last year, the Polish government announced that the losses suffered by Poland 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 2022, the Polish foreign minister 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: polskieradio24.pl, wpolityce.pl