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Poland never renounced war reparations from Germany, says deputy FM

23.08.2023 15:30
Poland's former communist government did not formally renounce compensation from Germany for World War II in 1953, despite media reports at the time, and so Warsaw’s claim for reparations from Berlin is still valid, a deputy foreign minister has said.
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Arkadiusz Mularczyk.
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Arkadiusz Mularczyk.PAP/Kalbar

Arkadiusz Mularczyk made the assertion in an interview with Polish state news agency PAP on Wednesday.

Wednesday, August 23, marks 70 years since the government of Soviet-controlled Poland issued a declaration renouncing claims to war reparations from Germany, according to a report at the time in the now-defunct daily newspaper Trybuna Ludu.

Mularczyk said on Wednesday: “There was no formal government resolution on this subject. A resolution like this was never officially published.”

He added: “There was a report in Trybuna Ludu that the government issued such a resolution and on this basis it was assumed that the resolution existed.”

Mularczyk said there was only “a sheet of paper signed by then President Bolesław Bierut that did not meet the criteria of a government resolution.”

The Polish deputy foreign minister added: “For years, Germany and pro-German propaganda had tried to prove there was a legally binding document” declaring Poland’s renunciation of war damages.

"This narrative misled the public and acted to Poland’s detriment," Mularczyk stated.

Poland demands WWII damages from Germany

As the issue of reparations "remains unresolved," Mularczyk said Poland’s government in April 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 that 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.”

Mularczyk asserted on Wednesday that the April 2023 resolution “put an end to all speculation about some declaration from 1953.”

Meanwhile, Beata Komarnicka-Nowak, a lawyer specialising in international law, said the August 1953 declaration was “null and void from the start,” as it was issued “under coercion” from the Soviet Union, the PAP news agency reported.

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, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew 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, polskieradio.pl