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Poland’s never renounced war reparations from Germany: Kaczyński for Le Figaro

“Poland has never renounced the right to demand war reparations from Germany. Poland should take advantage of the right in the name of a fundamental sense of justice, in the name of historical truth and in the name of true Polish-German reconcilement,” Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS), wrote in his op-ed article for Friday’s issue of French daily “Le Figaro”.

Poland to seek WWII reparations from Germany

Poland estimates its WWII losses caused by Germany at PLN 6.2 tn (EUR 1.32 tn), Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of the Law and Justice (PiS) – senior…

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“Poland, which was the first to oppose military aggression by the Third Reich… suffered the largest proportionate human and material losses out of all states that were attacked by Hitler and its allies,” PiS Chairman Kaczyński wrote.

“Therefore, Poland has a full and undisputable right to seek and obtain adequate compensation. Poland should benefit from this in the name of a fundamental sense of justice, historical truth and true Polish-German reconciliation,” he wrote referring to a report, published on Thursday, touching on the losses suffered from Poland due to the German aggression and occupation during WWII. The report was composed by a Lower House Investigative Committee. It takes into account both the destruction of Polish cities, infrastructure and industry and the lost economic potential associated with the murder of millions of Polish citizens.

“The crimes perpetrated by Germans in Poland were exceptionally cruel. From the very first days of the military activities, terrible killings, including burning people alive, were organised. The crimes by German officials were parallel to those perpetrated by individuals, such as murders and theft. Along with mass murders, a deliberate policy of starving Polish society was implemented. It led to the death of some and the worsening of the health of others, often in a permanent way that would weigh heavily on future generations,” Mr Kaczyński wrote.

“Under no circumstances can we forget the magnitude of the moral suffering and humiliation resulting from the explicit crimes committed by the occupiers, of course including the Holocaust; crimes that could not have been effectively prevented on a larger scale as any expression of insubordination, such as support for the persecuted Polish citizens of Jewish origin, was subject to the death penalty,” the PiS leader wrote.

As Mr Kaczyński noted, “it is unacceptable, in terms of morality and dignity, for Poland to be exempted from the German war reparations, while 70 other states could benefit from some form of reparation.”

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Decision to renounce claims to German war reparations made by a Soviet puppet govt

“Despite what Germany maintains, Poland has never given up its war reparations claims,” Mr Kaczyński said. “A unilateral declaration of the [Polish] Council of Ministers of August 23, 1953, did not have legal significance as it was never published in the Official Gazette or registered by the United Nations.”

“Moreover, part of legal milieus is of the opinion that this was not in line with the then applying constitutional provisions. In this context, it begs to be recalled that Poland’s Lower House noted, in its 10th of September 2004 resolution, that to date, Poland had not received either adequate financial compensation or reparations for the immense damage, and material and immaterial losses brought about by the [German-perpetrated] aggression, occupation and genocide as well as the loss of independence,” he stressed.

“One must not forget that Germany, to a large degree, has not come to terms with its Hitlerite past and crimes,” Mr Kaczyńśki noted, adding that numerous Third Reich officials took an active part in the political and public life of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic.

“Thanks to an array of legal instruments, [Germans] were able to enjoy an effective amnesty,” Mr Kaczyński stressed.

The chairman of the PiS went on to underscore how the lack of German reparations and German politicians’ denial of the validity thereof overshadowed Polish-German relations.

He concluded by highlighting the immense multiannual “effort” put into the works on the report.

Poland estimated German World War Two reparations at EUR 1.32 trillion.

In 1953, Poland relinquished all claims to war reparations from Germany under pressure from the Soviet Union, which sought to free its new satellite country, East Germany, from any burden. The current Polish government says the 1953 agreement is invalid as Poland was not a fully sovereign country at that time. Germany says the case of war reparations for Poland is closed.

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