Why Poland can demand German reparations

EPA/PATRICK SEEGER

Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said discussions on the issue “may not yield the appropriate result”.

Why Poland can demand German reparations


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Poland has the right to demand reparations from Germany for its actions in the country during World War Two, according to Polish legal experts. The issue of reparations has been revived by Poland’s eurosceptic ruling party Law and Justice (PiS).

“[The communist government] was forced into this by the Soviet Union, and Poland was not a sovereign state at the time,” said Arkadiusz Mularczyk, a PiS deputy who had commissioned the study. “Poland has a legal basis to demand reparations.”

As reported by the Reuters news agency, the experts, in a non-binding ruling, said a decision by Poland’s communist authorities in the 1950s to relinquish all claims against Germany over damages caused by its invasion and occupation of much of Poland was unconstitutional and invalid.

On September 11, Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski said discussions on the issue “may not yield the appropriate result”.

“But they should take place to inform the German side about the enormity of destruction it has caused,” he told public broadcaster TVP1. Waszczykowski added further analysis was needed before any claims were lodged.

According to Reuters, six million Poles, including three million Polish Jews, were killed during the war, and the capital Warsaw was razed to the ground in 1944 after a failed uprising in which 200,000 civilians died.

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