Home / News / World /  83 years after WWII atrocities, Poland demands $1.3 trillion in reparations from Germany

WARSAW : Eighty three years after World War II began with the invasion of Poland- a joint attack on the Republic of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, Poland has demanded that Germany pay $1.3 trillion in reparations for the damage incurred by occupying Nazi Germans.

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.

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.

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

Baerbock stressed that “this includes that coming to terms with and remembering the immeasurable suffering that Germany brought upon the people of Poland."

"There cannot and will not be a line drawn here," Baerbock said.

Invasion of Poland

The invasion of Poland, also known as the September campaign, 1939 defensive war and Poland campaign, was a joint attack on the Republic of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union which marked the beginning of World War II.

Around 6 million of Poland’s citizens, including 3 million Jews, were killed in the war. Some of them were victims of the Soviet Red Army that invaded from the east.

Poland seeks reparations

Poland’s right-wing government argues that the country hasn't been fully compensated by neighboring Germany, which is now one of its major partners within the European Union.

Poland’s government has 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 says damages were paid

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.

In the 1990s Germany paid one-time compensation to former inmates of Nazi concentration camps and to victims of forced labor, including many Poles.

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