By Edwig Ban
The Polish-German war dance has officially begun. According to the PAP agency, the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zbigniew Rau, signed a diplomatic note on Monday, which is to be submitted to the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding war reparations. According to Rau, the settlement of the consequences of German aggression and occupation should include, among other things, the payment of reparations for the material and moral damage caused.
From a financial point of view, Poland would like Germany to transfer more than $1.3 trillion to Warsaw’s treasury today.
According to Rau, “such a settlement will allow Polish-German relations to be based on justice and truth and will lead to the closing of some painful chapters in the past and will ensure the further development of bilateral relations in the spirit of good neighborliness and friendly cooperation. ”
According to some commentators in the Polish press, the “business” has been set up for a long time by the leader of the conservative party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, in order to gain political capital in difficult times.
Donald Tusk, the leader of Poland’s main opposition Civic Platform party, said Thursday that Kaczynski’s announcement was “not about reparations.”
“This is a domestic political campaign to rebuild support for the ruling party,” he said.
How do Germans respond now, to the 83rd anniversary of the Second World War?
From the German point of view, the issue of reparations is legally closed. It was regulated in several contracts. In the Potsdam Agreement, the victorious powers agreed that reparations to Poland would be taken from payments received by the Soviet Union. In the 1950 Treaty of Görlitz, the GDR and Polish governments agreed on the Oder–Neisse line as the final border. In 1953, the Polish government told the GDR that it would refrain from further repairs. The Two Plus Four Treaty on German Unity of 1990 provides that the reparations issues have been resolved. During the talks on the German-Polish neighborhood agreement in 1991, both governments stated that the compensation issues had finally been resolved.
Poland also received material compensation by shifting its borders to the west. The areas of East Prussia, West Prussia, Pomerania, Lower and Upper Silesia that came to Poland were more economically developed than the eastern areas that Poland lost to the Soviet Union.
The Austrians from Der Standard meg even further. Here is what the newspaper says in the edition of September 1, 2022:
“Kaczyński, Morawiecki and other PiS politicians have been claiming for years that Poland never received reparations from Germany – unlike other countries. But this is wrong: for eight years – from 1945 to 1953 – Poland received building materials, raw materials, furniture, clothing and many other products… Repairs were meticulously noted and available for inspection in a work in two volumes. The total values delivered by post-war Germany should be around $20 billion.”
By Edwig Ban