Representatives of Poland’s ruling party, Law and Justice (PIS), said they would demand about €1.3 trillion in war reparations from Germany on Thursday, the 83rd anniversary of Germany’s attack on Poland.
PiS representatives, including its president Jarosław Kaczyński and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, convened a press conference on Thursday.
Its main element was the publication of a report prepared by a special parliamentary expert committee on the estimated value of the losses suffered by Poland as a result of the Second World War.
Adding up the loss of human capital, the amount of damage to buildings and infrastructure, and reparations for Nazi Germany’s crimes, the politicians put the total losses Poland suffered during the German occupation at PLN 6.2 trillion (€1.3 trillion).
“Such matters (like reparations) must be fought for, sometimes for many years. We do not promise that there will be quick success. We are only saying that it is a Polish duty, to close a certain lack, a certain gap in our activity as a sovereign state that we are finally reporting something that should have been reported long ago,” Jaroslaw Kaczynski said.
Opposition politicians are unhappy with the idea.
“I do not think that our future government, made up of democratic groupings, will return to the issue of war reparations from Germany,” said liberal Civic Platform (PO) MP Grzegorz Schetyna.
“Of course, the war has not been settled and we should talk about it with Germany, but what PiS is doing today is a denial of dialogue; it is exploiting the pain of the victims and tarnishing the memory,” centrist Poland 2050 leader Szymon Holownia assessed. “The anti-German campaign unleashed by the Law and Justice party is disgraceful,” he added.
On 24 August 1953, Poland, then an Eastern Bloc country, renounced war reparations from the German side. At the time, it was considered that the land taken over by Poland from the Germans was sufficient to compensate for six years of brutal occupation.
The situation was addressed by a spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry, who briefly stated that “the issue of reparations to Poland is over”.