Poland Set to Demand Billions from Germany over World War Two

Daily Mail (London), August 3, 2017 | Go to article overview

Poland Set to Demand Billions from Germany over World War Two


Byline: Larisa Brown Political Correspondent

POLAND is preparing to demand billions of euros in wartime reparations from Germany.

Officials are looking into a 'historical counteroffensive' to claim compensation for atrocities and looting. Arkadiusz Mularczyk, an MP with the ruling Law and Justice party, revealed yesterday that parliamentary researchers will have an analysis of the issues ready by next Friday.

Germany's 1939-1945 occupation of Poland cost the lives of up to six million civilians, around a fifth of the pre-war population. Half the dead were Jewish Holocaust victims. Churches, cultural treasures and entire cities were plundered and destroyed.

The Soviets also carried out looting and committed atrocities such as the Katyn massacre of Polish officers in 1940. Under pressure from Moscow, Poland's former communist government agreed in 1953 to make no further reparation claims.

But Antoni Macierewicz, Poland's defence minister, said on Tuesday that the decisions of a Soviet puppet state were not necessarily valid today.

He insisted the Germans needed to 'pay back the terrible debt they owe to the Polish people'.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the country's most powerful politician, said in a recent interview the 'Polish government was preparing itself for a historical counteroffensive'.

'We are talking here about huge sums, and also about the fact that Germany for many years refused to take responsibility for World War II,' said Kaczynski, who leads Right-wing Law and Justice.

He called for reparations when he was prime minister more than a decade ago, creating tensions between two important trading partners and allies in Nato and the European Union. Ulrike Demmer, a spokesman for German chancellor Angela Merkel, responded to Mr Macierewicz by saying 'the question of reparations for Poland was dealt with conclusively in the past, legally and politically'. …

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