Germany Rejects Polish World War II Reparation Demands

Polish demands for trillions in World War II reparations for damages are a non-starter, said German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, during a visit to Warsaw on Tuesday.

“The question of reparations is closed, as far as the German government is concerned,” the Green Party politician said on Tuesday, following consultations with her Polish counterpart, Zbigniew Rau.

Still, “Germany stands by its historical responsibility without any ifs and buts,” Baerbock said.

“It remains our eternal task to remember the millionfold suffering Germany inflicted on Poland.’’

The brutality of an “inhumane campaign of oppression, of Germanisation, of pure annihilation, caused a completely different pain in Poland than in other places,’’ the minister said.

“It is noticeable how present this pain is to this day, not only amongst 90-year-olds, but also nine-year-olds because this pain is inherited over generations.’’

She said people in Germany might not always recognise, but that young German citizens must continue to keep this memory alive.

“We must remind ourselves of this repeatedly, especially in Germany, and Germany and Poland must continue to work together,” Baerbock added.

On his part, Rau stressed that there must be a joint responsibility of Poland and Germany towards the past, present and future generations.

“Convinced that the German government’s position on this issue will evolve through dialogue,’’ he said.

Nobody can point to a moral or legal system in which the perpetrator of a crime was empowered to independently and solely determine both the extent of their guilt,” the Polish foreign minister said.

The Polish government had emphasised its demands for reparations from Germany, shortly before Baerbock’s visit.

Rau, however, signed a diplomatic note to be handed over to Berlin.

On the 83rd anniversary of the start of World War II on Sept. 1, a parliamentary commission in Warsaw, presented an expert report estimating the damages in Poland at more than 1.3 trillion euros (1.28 trillion dollars).

However, the Polish minister Rau did not give a concrete sum, which may have been included in the diplomatic note.

“The letter is on its way to Berlin,’’ said Baerbock about the note.

“It was good that we were able to talk about it in person today. You already know the German government’s position on this issue.’’ 

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