Poland will officially ask Germany for World War II reparations worth more than six billion zlotys (about 1.35 billion euros), the value of the damage caused by the Nazi invasion according to an estimate in a report by the ruling party Law and Justice.
Reasonable similarities between Ukraine and that world war that began in Spain
“Today is the day to address the issue in the international dialogue and put it on the agenda of German-Polish relations,” party leader Jaroszlaw Kaczinski said during the presentation of the report. “The goal, probably in the long term, is to receive compensation for everything that Germany and the German nation did to us between 1939 and 1945.”
Kaczinski pointed out that many countries in the world have received compensation, even small, while Poland has received nothing.
Germany, according to Kaczynski, has not paid for its war crimes against Poland nor actively sought to punish war criminals. “Different legal acts created a de facto abolition system. Even the people who were guilty of the death of tens of thousands of people were able to live normally in Germany and sometimes held official positions in Germany,” he said.
According to Kaczynski, the sum indicated in the report is conservative and could be much higher: “It is a large sum, but considering that war reparations are paid over decades, the German economy will be able to handle it. It will not be a big burden, and we can say that it is realistic.”
The calculation of the report
Arkadiusz Mularczyk, responsible for preparing the report, said that the result of Nazi Germany’s activities during World War II halved Poland’s ability to create wealth. The figure comes from his “partial” calculation of demographic and material losses.
The current report consists of three volumes. The first contains an estimate of Poland’s material and non-material losses during the war; the second, photographic documentation of war atrocities, and the third volume lists the crimes committed by the Nazis in Poland during World War II.
“During World War II, Poland suffered the greatest losses compared to the total population and national wealth of all European countries,” Mularczyk said. “The damage was caused not only by the war itself, but also by the German occupation policy.”
According to the report, as a result of the war, Poland lost 77,900 square kilometers of its territory. Poland’s population fell from 35.1 million people in 1939 to 23.9 million people in 1946, while 590,000 people were left with various types of disabilities.
It is estimated that Poland lost 5.2 million people as a result of the actions of the Nazis alone. Poland’s population did not reach its prewar size until 1978.
However, before the publication of the report, experts expressed doubts that Poland could legally demand compensation from Germany. Last month, History professor Stanislaw Zerko told the EFE agency that, in his opinion, the legal channels are closed.
In 1953, the communist government of Poland signed a declaration renouncing Germany’s independent claims for redress, and the declaration was later confirmed by the first democratic government of Tadeusz Mazowiecki (1989-1991), and the governments of Leszek Miller ( SLD) in 2004, and Beata Szydlo (PiS) in 2017.
In 1945, it was agreed that Poland would receive 15% of the reparations granted to the Soviet Union by Germany (around 1.5 billion dollars in 1945, which today would be around 24.4 billion euros). However, during the time that Poland received transfers from the USSR, it was forced to send millions of tons of coal to that country at heavily discounted prices.