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Poland demands $1.3 trillion WW2 reparations from Germany

German troops parade through Warsaw, Poland, in September of 1939. (Public Domain)
January 06, 2023

Germany turned down Poland’s request to negotiate compensation for some $1.3 trillion in estimated World War II reparations, saying it has closed the matter, Warsaw proclaimed this week.

During a press conference Tuesday, Poland’s Foreign Ministry indicated that it made a request for the United Nations to intervene to convince Berlin to pay for the losses sustained under Nazi Germany’s 1939-45 occupation.

Poland’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Arkadiusz Mularczyk told reporters Warsaw reached out to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and other top U.N. officials seeking “cooperation and support” in its attempt to secure wartime reparations, vowing to continue and expand its endeavor.

“The United Nations system offers instruments for dialogue as well as for introducing the international community to the scale of the damages caused by the German aggression and occupation during the war, and Poland intends to use them,” Mularczyk said, according to the legal news service Jurist.

U.N. officials have not responded to Poland’s request.

During to drawn-out dispute, Germany has been arguing that the matter is closed, citing decisions made during Communist rule when Warsaw declined to seek reparations, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

Nevertheless, Polish leaders insist on reparations.

The “matter of reparations and compensations for wartime losses remains closed and the German government does not intend to open negotiations on the subject,” Germany said in an official December 28 note, according to the Polish government.

Although Polish officials acknowledged that a quick resolution is unlikely, Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek, Poland’s minister for European relations, asserted that it is Warsaw’s “moral obligation” to hound reparations.

“Victims of war and their heirs wishing to pursue claims against the German state have no legal avenue as a result of the immunity from jurisdiction invoked by Germany,” the Polish deputy foreign minister said Tuesday.

“Poland was devastated by World War II, with 220 out of every 1000 inhabitants killed in the violence,” Euro News noted.