Germany does not intend to pay reparations to Poland for the damage caused to the country during World War II. This statement was circulated by the German Foreign Ministry, recalling that Warsaw refused to demand such payments back in 1953. Earlier, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice party, Yaroslav Kaczynski, said that the damage to Poland inflicted by the Third Reich in 1939-1945 was at least $1.3 trillion. According to him, Warsaw will seek appropriate compensation from Berlin. Previously, similar demands of Poland were addressed to Russia. According to experts, exploiting the theme of historical grievances, Warsaw is primarily trying to solve its economic problems.
Berlin reported that Germany was not going to pay reparations to Poland for the damage caused during the Second World War. This statement was made by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The text of the document is given by the newspaper Handelsblatt.
“The position of the federal government is unchanged, the issue of reparations is closed. Poland refused further reparations in 1953 and repeatedly confirmed this refusal. This is the essential foundation of the current order in Europe,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
At the same time, the country’s foreign ministry admitted that “politically and morally, Germany is responsible for the Second World War.”
“A Feasible Amount”
Thus, the German Foreign Ministry reacted to the statement of the leader of the Polish ruling party Law and Justice (PiS) Jarosław Kaczynski that Warsaw would demand compensation from Berlin for the damage caused to the country during the Second World War.
Speaking on September 1 at the presentation ceremony of a report on the losses suffered by Poland as a result of the Nazi attack and occupation in 1939-1945, Kaczynski estimated the damage to Poland at 6.2 trillion zlotys ($1.3 trillion). At the same time, the leader of the ruling party is sure that Germany will be able to settle accounts with Warsaw without any problems for its economy.
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“The amount that was presented as the amount of losses incurred is the most limited, conservative… It is 6 trillion 200 billion zlotys. From the point of view of Germany, and given that such compensation has been paid for decades, this is a manageable amount for the German economy, ”TASS quoted Kaczynski as saying.
At the same time, the Polish statesman promised that Warsaw would raise the issue of compensation in the international arena and would discuss it with representatives of Berlin. Kaczynski said the road to reparations “will be a long one, but we are confident that one day we will succeed.”
Recall that in July, the chairman of the Law and Justice party said that the people of the country should get rid of the Stockholm syndrome in relation to Germany. According to Kaczynski, Germany did not condemn hundreds of thousands of Nazi criminals and at the same time “is trying to pass itself off as a moral empire.”
In mid-July, the Polish authorities prepared a three-volume report, which had been worked on over the past four years, with documents and detailed calculations of the losses incurred in 1939-1945. Based on this report, the republic intends to seek reparations from the FRG.
Warsaw is convinced that there are “great chances” to persuade Berlin to pay compensation. So, in early August, in an interview with the newspaper Rzeczpospolita, Kaczynski’s colleague, PiS MP Arkadiusz Mulyarchik said that the Germans could pay off the Poles within a few years.
According to the politician, by agreeing to the demands put forward, Germany will be able to improve relations with Poland.
“I am convinced that there is a good chance that Germany will pay reparations to Poland within a few years, and perhaps even faster. The stigma of the crimes of their ancestors will greatly harm Germany in international relations around the world, ”TASS quotes Mulyarchik as saying.
However, the German authorities have never expressed their readiness to make concessions to Warsaw and consider the issue of reparations closed. In December 2021, after a meeting with the head of the Polish government, Mateusz Morawiecki, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that he was against compensation for damages and did not see any legal basis for this.
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“We have entered into agreements that are valid and that regulate the issues of the past and the payment of compensation,” Scholz said.
The FRG also appeals to the provisions of the so-called “2 + 4” agreement, which was concluded in September 1990. The document created the international legal basis for the unification of the western and eastern lands of Germany. The countries that won the Third Reich agreed to create a single German state: the USSR, the USA, Great Britain and France.
As experts explained, the 2 + 4 agreement finally eliminated the elements of the occupation regime that existed in the territories of Germany after the Second World War. The agreement is perceived by the Germans as the foundation of a new statehood that has nothing to do with the Third Reich.
In addition, as the German Foreign Ministry recalled, back in 1953 Warsaw refused to demand that Germany pay reparations. True, the corresponding agreement was concluded between the then socialist government of Poland and the socialist leadership of the GDR. According to the current Polish elite, the 1953 document was signed by the republic under pressure from the USSR and therefore is not legitimate.
In an interview with RT, an expert from the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Oleg Nemensky, said that Poland really suffered huge human and material losses during the period of Nazi occupation. According to the Polish government, 5.2 million inhabitants of the republic became victims of German punishers. The Nazis destroyed a large number of Polish cities, expropriated the country’s enterprises and farmlands, carried out repressions against the local intelligentsia, purposefully destroyed the country’s science and education system.
At the same time, as Nemensky recalled, after the Second World War, Poland received significant territories at the expense of German-owned lands, as well as powerful economic and military-political support from the USSR. All this allowed the Polish People’s Republic (PPR) to relatively quickly restore the national economy.
“From a historical point of view, the claims of the Poles are dangerous for themselves. Warsaw needs to remember that its current western, southwestern and a significant part of the northern lands were German and, as a result of the war, they were actually presented to the PPR by the Soviet Union. The Germans can easily remind the Poles of this as well. I think that Poland is playing a dangerous game – and without a chance to win it, ”says Nemensky.
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According to the expert, the real reason for the demands for reparations addressed to Germany should be sought in the reduction in the flow of funding from EU funds, the main donor of which is Germany. In July, the German newspaper Die Welt published an article stating that Poland was extremely sensitive to the blocking of a tranche of €35 billion from the EU’s special COVID fund.
The reason for the refusal was the ongoing dispute between Brussels and Warsaw over the Polish judicial system. The EU is dissatisfied with the latest reforms in Poland, believing that they harm the principle of impartiality of judges, and demand that Warsaw bring the judicial system in line with EU standards. The Polish authorities made concessions to Brussels, but in the capital of the European Union they considered them insufficient.
Vladislav Belov, deputy director for research at the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences, believes that Warsaw’s financial claims only exacerbate relations with such an influential country in the EU as Germany.
“With enviable constancy, the Poles increase the amount of reparations: the last one was about $800 billion, now it is over 1 trillion. This is a clear aggravation of relations or Warsaw’s unwillingness to take a sober look at post-war history. Attempts to really worsen relations with Germany, to show that Poland is a leading state, ”Belov said in a comment to RT.
“Nothing will wait”
Along with Germany, the Polish leadership intends to once again demand compensatory payments from Russia. In particular, this was stated in August by Arkadiusz Mulyarchik. An associate of Kaczynski believes that Warsaw has the right to compensation for damage from the actions of the USSR during the Second World War and the “occupation” – the period of the existence of the PPR.
Modern Poland perceives extremely negatively the entry of Red Army units into Western Ukraine and Western Belarus (later these lands became part of the Ukrainian SSR and the BSSR) in September 1939 after the conclusion of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
In addition, Warsaw believes that the socialist government that existed during the Cold War years was controlled by Moscow and did not make sovereign decisions.
The Russian authorities have repeatedly rejected the Polish demands, noting that the republic is “indebted” to Russia as the successor of the USSR for the liberation from the Nazi occupation.
Recall that Poland was cleared of the Wehrmacht during the Vistula-Oder and Warsaw-Poznan offensive operations in the winter of 1945. In the battles for this Eastern European country, 600 thousand Soviet soldiers and officers gave their lives. The attitude of the Polish population towards the USSR was ambiguous, but they met the Red Army as liberators.
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In a conversation with RT, Vadim Trukhachev, a lecturer in the Department of Foreign Regional Studies and Foreign Policy at the Historical and Archival Institute of the Russian State Humanitarian University, called Warsaw’s demands for compensation “hysterical”.
“The Polish elite hates Russia. This must be taken for granted. And most of all the theme of historical grievances is exploited by PiS. As we can see, her claims are also addressed to Germany. This situation, I think, will continue as long as she is in power, ”says Trukhachev.
According to the expert, Warsaw’s game on historical grievances is a consequence of the republic’s economic problems and the desire of Polish conservatives to “demonstrate patriotism in the eyes of voters.”
“Hysteria about historical grievances is a trademark of Kaczynski and his associates. But Poland will definitely not expect anything from Russia. Yes, and Germany has already made it clear that it will not follow the wishes of Warsaw, ”summed up Trukhachev.
Source: RT на русском by russian.rt.com.
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