Wednesday 23 May 2018

Germany must pay Poland up to $1 trillion in World War II reparations, minister says

Witold Waszczykowski has accused Germany of 'shirking' their responsibilities
Witold Waszczykowski has accused Germany of 'shirking' their responsibilities

Rachael Revesz

Germany should consider paying Poland as much as $1 trillion (€840bn) in World War II reparations, according to the Polish foreign minister.

Poland’s foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski told local radio station RMF that “serious talks” were needed with Germany to "find a way to deal with the fact that German-Polish relations are overshadowed by the German aggression of 1939 and unresolved post-war issues."

He said Poland’s material losses were about $1 trillion (€840bn), or higher.

Polish defense minister Antoni Macierewicz also accused European critics of trying to “erase” the fate of the Poles at German hands during the war “from the historical memory of Europe”.

The country’s right-wing government has dismissed a 1953 resolution by Poland’s former communist government which dropped any claim to reparations from Germany, and are instead claiming that Germany is “shirking” its moral responsibility.

Critics of the government say they are talking about reparations to divert attention from their nationalistic agenda.

Around six million Polish citizens, including about three million Jews, were killed during the war and much of Warsaw was destroyed.

Mr Waszczykowski did not say when Poland would make public its formal position on repatriations.

An independent Ibris poll found that 51 per cent of Polish people objected to repatriation claims against Germany, while 24 per cent were in favour.

The current conservative Law and Justice party has faced criticism for introducing reforms that have been accused of eroding democracy in Poland, and the European Union launched legal action in July due to fears the reforms could restrict judicial independence.

Independent News Service

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