Sun | Dec 4, 2022

Poland demands $1.3 trillion in war reparations from Germany

Published:Tuesday | October 4, 2022 | 2:50 PM
Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock speaks during a high-level Security Council meeting on the situation in Ukraine, Thursday, September 22, 2022, at United Nations headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's foreign minister on Monday signed an official note to Germany requesting the payment of about $1.3 trillion in reparations for the damage incurred by occupying Nazi Germans during World War II.

Zbigniew Rau said the note will be handed to Germany's Foreign Ministry.

The signing comes on the eve of Rau's meeting in Warsaw with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who will attend a security conference.

Rau said the note expresses his view that the two sides should take action “without delay” to address the effects of Germany's 1939-45 occupation in a “lasting and complex, legally binding as well as material way.”

He said that would include German reparations as well as solving the issue of looted artworks, archives and bank deposits.

He said Berlin should make efforts to inform German society about the “true” picture of the war and its disastrous effects on Poland.

Warsaw says that payment of reparations would strengthen bilateral relations through truth and justice and would close painful chapters from the past.

Germany says the matter was closed decades ago.

Baerbock said in Berlin before departing for Poland that the two European neighbours and partners have a “responsibility to preserve the trust we have built together over the past 30 years.”

On the war's 83rd anniversary, September 1, Poland's government presented an extensive report on the damages, estimating it at the $1.3 trillion figure.

Poland's government rejects a 1953 declaration by the country's then communist leaders, under pressure from the Soviet Union, that Poland wouldn't make any further claims on Germany.

Germany argues compensation was paid to Eastern Bloc nations in the years after the war, while territories that Poland lost in the east as borders were redrawn were compensated with some of Germany's prewar lands.

Berlin calls the matter closed. It was Moscow that decided Poland would receive only a small fraction of the compensation.

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