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Poland demands Germany pay $1.3 trillion in WW2 reparations

German troops parade through Warsaw, Poland, in September of 1939. (Public Domain)
September 02, 2022

The Polish government is preparing to send the German government a bill seeking $1.3 trillion in reparations for the damage their Nazi predecessors caused during World War II.

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The $1.3 trillion damage assessment is the finding of a long-awaited report assessing the cost that Nazi-era Germany’s invasion and occupation of Poland had on the country. The Associated Press reported Thursday that Polish political leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski would demand Germany pay down the cost of those damages during a presentation event for the new report.

Kaczynski is the leader of Poland’s Law and Justice Party, which holds the majority in Poland’s Parliament.

“We not only prepared the report but we have also taken the decision as to the further steps,” Kaczynski said.

“We will turn to Germany to open negotiations on the reparations,” he continued.

The Polish political leader said the process for getting such reparations from Germany will be “long and not an easy path” but “one day will bring success.”

The German government maintains that it already paid off its war debts to Poland in the years after the war when the country was under the control of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union had also invaded Poland during World War II and the country was a Soviet vassal state until 1989.

According to Reuters, Poland’s then-communist government gave up any claims for war reparations in 1953. Reuters reported the decision came under pressure from their leaders in the Soviet Union, who wanted to drop the reparation issue to excuse East Germany — which was also under Soviet control — from any of the liability.

“Germany has never really accounted for its crimes against Poland,” Kaczynski said.

The German Foreign Ministry told the Associated Press that “Poland long ago, in 1953, waived further reparations and has repeatedly confirmed this waiver.”

The German Foreign Ministry said, “This is a significant basis for today’s European order. Germany stands by its responsibility for World War II politically and morally.”

The current Polish government has also condemned the modern Russian government for the Soviet Union’s invasion of Poland during World War II. The Polish government has pointed to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union — a non-aggression pact between the two powers — as a sign that they both planned to take and divide up European territory before Germany broke the pact.