Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, said Thursday that the government will seek reparations from Germany for the Nazi invasion and occupation in World War II, The Associated Press reports.
Kaczynski said that it is Poland’s “obligation” to proceed in this way. He was speaking ahead of the release of a long-awaited report on the cost of Poland’s Nazi occupation, as it marks 83 years since the start of World War II.
Poland’s right-wing government claims that the country, which was the first victim of the war, has not been fully compensated by Germany, which is now one of its main partners in the European Union.
According to the pro-government official Rzeczpospolita, the government is launching a public campaign to demand reparations from the Germans. Beners with the announcement will appear, among others, at the main train stations, stations and public places in the country. Selected foreign newspapers (but not German ones) will publish articles signed by, among others, Jarosław Kaczyński, Mateusz Morawiecki, Piotr Gliński and possibly President Andrzej Duda. The #bezprzedawNIEnia campaign is organized by the Ministry of Culture and supported by the Polish National Foundation. Cultural institutions such as museums will also participate. It will last until September 17th.
“The purpose of the campaign is to reach the widest possible audience in the country and abroad with a message about the fate, tragedy and losses of the Polish state suffered as a result of the Second World War, as well as the lack of reparations that prevent the realization. of true reconciliation and which to this day casts a shadow over relations with the culprits” – reports the Ministry of Culture.
Jarosław Kaczyński, PiS president, announced at the Royal Castle in Warsaw that a decision had been taken “to obtain reparations from the Germans for what the Nazi occupation did to Poland in 1939–45”. He predicts this process will take many years.
The war was “one of the most terrible tragedies in our history,” President Andrzej Duda said on Thursday in the Westerplatte peninsula near Gdansk, one of the first places to be attacked in the Nazi invasion.
“Not only because it took away our freedom (the war), not only because it took away our state, but also because this war meant millions of victims among the citizens of Poland and irreparable losses for our homeland and nation”, he Duda said.
In Germany, the government official in charge of German-Polish relations, Dietmar Nietan, said in a statement that September 1 “remains a day of guilt and shame for Germany, which repeatedly reminds us not to forget the crimes committed by Germany” that are “the darkest chapter in our history” and still affect bilateral relations.
The Polish government rejects a 1953 declaration by the then communist leaders of the country, under pressure from the Soviet Union, by which they agree to make no further claims on Germany.
Germany claims that Eastern Bloc nations received reparations in the years after the war, while the territories that Poland lost in the east as borders were reconfigured received some of Germany’s pre-war countries. Berlin considers the issue closed.