In an interview with the dziennik.pl website, Karl Heinz Roth was quoted as saying he was researching the issue of war reparations because “they have no statute of limitations, no deadline for payment, and only by paying them can we resolve this issue.”
He added, according to the Polish website: “If the German government doesn’t pay war damages to Poland, which was so terribly ravaged during WWII, there won’t be a lasting agreement between us.”
The website also cited Roth as saying that "an attempt to create a culture of symbolic memory will not make up for a material basis of reconciliation.”
Roth also said that Poland had a "legitimate right to claim substantial war damages,” according to dziennik.pl.
Asked about the origin of his pro-Polish sentiments, Roth said they mainly arose after the war, but were also partly rooted in masked feelings of guilt towards the Polish people, dziennik.pl reported.
“Germans committed horrible atrocities in Poland and are ashamed to admit it,” Roth said in the interview, according to dziennik.pl.
His research culminated in a book on the subject exploring "the German reparation debt to Poland and Europe,” dziennik.pl reported on Tuesday.
An analysis by Polish parliamentary experts found in 2017 that the government in Warsaw was entitled to demand reparations from Germany.
The head of a Polish team assessing potential reparations said in 2018 that Germany could owe Poland USD 850 billion for damage it inflicted in World War II.
In 2019, Poland’s conservative leader Jarosław Kaczyński said that outstanding dues to Poland in the wake of World War II ran into tens or even hundreds of billions of euros, "perhaps even more than a trillion."
German officials have said the issue was definitively settled with Poland in 1953.