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Polish deputy FM hails local councillors’ call for WWII damages from Germany

31.08.2023 23:30
A resolution in support of Poland’s push for war reparations from Germany, adopted by local councillors in the southern town of Bochnia, represents “big moral support” for the government, a deputy foreign minister has said.
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Arkadiusz Mularczyk (centre) speaks during a visit to the southern town of Bochnia on Thursday, August 31, 2023.
Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Arkadiusz Mularczyk (centre) speaks during a visit to the southern town of Bochnia on Thursday, August 31, 2023. PAP/Łukasz Gągulski

Arkadiusz Mularczyk made the remark in Bochnia on Thursday, Polish state news agency PAP reported. 

The deputy foreign minister said: “It’s very important that places which were affected very painfully by World War II, losing thousands of citizens and incurring material losses, are speaking up today.”

Mularczyk told reporters at Bochnia Town Hall: “It’s vital that members of our local communities, such as Bochnia, are aware of the terrible crimes that were committed in the past.”

He mentioned the massacre of 52 Poles by the Nazi Germans at Bochnia’s Uzbornia Hill on December 18, 1939. 

The town lost some 15,000 inhabitants in the war, including 1,000 in mass executions between 1939 and 1944, according to the government.

Mularczyk stated: “The fact that local councillors say the issue of reparations for World War II should be settled represents big moral support for the government.”

He added that recently US Republican Congressman Chris Smith and the Rabbinical Council of America came out in support of Poland’s claim for compensation for World War II from Germany.  

In their resolution, adopted on Thursday, Bochnia’s councillors called on the Polish government to take “firm diplomatic and legal action to secure redress from Germany,” the PAP news agency reported.

The councillors added: “Poland ought to receive it out of a basic sense of justice, in the name of historical truth and in the interests of true Polish-German reconciliation.”

Poland's Wieluń backs 'efforts to secure redress' from Germany

Bochnia’s move came after the aldermen in the central town of Wieluń on Tuesday unanimously adopted a resolution “in support of efforts to secure redress owed to Poland by Germany for the damage inflicted as a result of the German Third Reich’s decision to start World War II.”

Wieluń was the first target of Germany’s invasion of Poland that set off the war, according to historians.

On September 1, 1939, Luftwaffe planes dropped 46 tonnes of bombs on the town, killing more than 2,000 people and reducing 75 percent of buildings to rubble, the PAP news agency reported.

The resolutions by the local councils in Wieluń and Bochnia came days before Friday’s 84th anniversary of the start of World War II. 

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 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.”

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, polskieradio24.pl