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Polish leader criticises Germany’s ‘racist stance’ on WWII reparations

23.10.2022 18:00
The Polish conservative leader has said that Germany is treating Poland “in a racist way” by not paying out reparations for World War II.
Polands conservative leader Jarosław Kaczyński meets the residents of the southeastern Polish city of Zamość, on Sunday, October 23, 2022.
Poland's conservative leader Jarosław Kaczyński meets the residents of the southeastern Polish city of Zamość, on Sunday, October 23, 2022.PAP/Bartłomiej Wójtowicz

Jarosław Kaczyński made the remark at a meeting with the people of the southeastern Polish city of Zamość on Sunday, Polish state news agency PAP reported.

The leader of Poland’s ruling party Law and Justice (PiS) told the audience: “Our demands from Germany regarding reparations for World War II have an economic aspect and this is of course of fundamental importance.”

‘Germany paid reparations to 70 countries but not to Poland

Kaczyński said that “Germany spent a far bigger sum on the reconstruction of East Germany, brought to ruin by communism, than the sum Poland is demanding in war reparations.”

He added that “Germany has paid out reparations to 70 countries,” and has recently agreed to pay compensation to the African country of Namibia, “for crimes committed at the turn of the 20th century, so far earlier than World War II.”

‘Such treatment of Polish people is racist’ 

Kaczyński stressed: “And yet, when compensation is being demanded by a nation on whom they inflicted terrible harm, harm that continues to this day, then it turns out that the claims are without foundation, the German government cites some statements from 1953 that are irrelevant, in the legal sense, and generally speaking, uses every excuse in the book to avoid paying. This is very significant, also for dignity reasons.” 

“Such treatment of Polish people is racist, in the purest sense of the word. We must not allow this, and so we will continue our policy,” Kaczyński concluded.

Push for WWII reparations from Germany

On September 1, Poland announced that the losses suffered by the country at the hands of Nazi Germany during World War II totalled EUR 1.3 trillion and that it would push for reparations. 

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 the losses Poland suffered between 1939 and 1945.

Referring to the issue of reparations, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, published on September 7: “I would like to state, just like all the previous German federal governments, that this issue [of WWII reparations] is settled conclusively under international law.” 

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


Source: PAP, wpolityce.pl