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    Poland to ask for $850 bln in war reparations from Germany

    Members of the Polish parliamentary committee dealing with World War II reparations from Germany have met at the headquarters of the New Records Archives in Warsaw. For over a year, the archive has been digitalizing its records of German war crimes in Poland. The archive houses a report made by the Polish Government-In-Exile in London in the years following World War 2 on the extent of material and human losses inflicted on Poland by Nazi Germany.

    The Deputy Director of the New Records Archives, Mariusz Olczak, informed the press that the digital catalog will be published on their website  in the coming days and that it contains an alphabetical list of the places, identified by the Polish Government-In-Exile, were German war crimes were committed between 1939 and 1945.

    Olczak argues that the most valuable of part of the report refer to very small towns and villages that often were not an object of interest to historians. He claims that many tend to forget that the German terror was not limited to the concentration camps and the destruction of Warsaw and other major Polish cities, but that it also took aim at Poles living in small towns and villages.

    The director of the New Record Archives, Dr. Taduesz Krawczak, emphasized that pressure must be put on Germany to make its records accessible to the public. He argued that Polish researchers have been hindered by German legislation which makes their World War II records of certain statistical materials classified for most researchers. Dr. Krawczak stated that it’s necessary to abolish the legislation as soon as possible, in order for all researchers to have access to the material which is currently only availabe to those with special permission.

    The head of the Parliamentary Committee for the Assessment of the Compensation Amount due to Poland from Germany for the Damage caused during World War II, Arkadiusz Mularczyk, reiterated that the committee’s final report on the scope of Germany’s war crimes in Poland will be published in 2019.

    Mularczyk argues that the effects of the Second World War are still felt by Polish society. He states that in comparison to Western Europe, Poland’s worse road infrastructure and weaker economy can be partly explained by the fact that the country has been developing at a slower rate for decades after the war as it had to rebuild all the wartime damages. He also stressed that the demographic process was stopped and that the population of Poland would be much greater today if not for the loss of almost 12 million citizens in the Second World War.

    According to Mularczyk, the issue of reparations requires permanent regulation in Polish-German relations but that until recently, the Germans believed or still believe that that war reparations is only an internal discussion in Poland. Mularczyk is working hard to change that perception and visited the the German parliament recently, speakingbefore the German Foreign Affairs Committee to present the factual problem concerning Poland not receiving reparations. He is also concerned with the problem of Polish citizens often facing a closed court path in private compensation cases.

    The sum that Poland will ask for in reparations in next year’s final report has not been determined yet but Mularczyk says that after taking inflation into consideration, an estimated 850 billion dollars could come into play.

    The take of the German authorities is that the case is closed in the light of international law and that the country currently has no obligations to pay out any war reparations to Poland.

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