Poland demands $1.32 trl reparations from Germany for WWII damages
Warsaw votes to adopt reparations demand from Berlin for damages made by Nazi Germany, however, the research on which the total cost has been assessed is a PiS research which has been deemed as flawed by history experts.
The lower chamber of Poland's parliament voted on Wednesday to demand Germany pay $1.3 trillion in reparations for damages sustained during the Nazi era.
By a majority vote of 418 to 4, the reparations law was adopted by both the opposition and Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party.
However, researchers claim that some of the atrocities mentioned by Warsaw were really perpetrated by Poles, making the demand contentious.
Since PiS came to office in 2015, the party has demanded reparations from Germany. A 2019 estimate indicated the apparent cost of the Nazi occupation at $850 billion, but research commissioned by the party and released earlier this month increased the figure to 6.2 trillion zlotys ($1.32 trillion).
When the study was released, PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynsk said that the estimate was "conservative" and that Germany could pay it. Berlin paying up would promote "true Polish-German reconciliation," he added.
Germany has contended that Poland relinquished its right to reparations in agreements signed with East Germany in 1953 by its communist government and in agreements reached with the USSR, US, UK, and France in 1990 by East and West Germany. Poland responded by claiming that the 1953 pact was made under Soviet pressure and that it was not a party to the 1990 negotiations.
In a direct critique of the reparations research by the PiS, Jan Grabowski, a Polish-born professor and Holocaust researcher at the University of Ottawa, told the Times of Israel last week that “It is a purely political document with no historical value.”
Additionally, Grabowski stated that it is “quite appalling” to blame these pogroms and atrocities solely on the Germans.
The divide between EU and Germany
Former Polish President Lech Walesa considered on June 4th that the European Union should dissolve and reestablish a new equivalent institution without Hungary and Poland, instead of compromising on key initiatives.
"If the European Commission greenlights Poland's post-Covid National Recovery Plan [KPO], that will be its defeat. The EU, instead of compromising with Poland, should dissolve and create a new community the next moment involving Germany and France, but excluding Poland and Hungary," Walesa told the Polish media outlet Interia.
Furthermore, Poland's refusal to supply oil to a refinery site in Schwedt, a town in Germany, has once again shown that Warsaw only pursues its own interests and that "oaths of European solidarity" are forgotten, remarked Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova to Radio Sputnik on August 24.
The Financial Times on August 21 reported that Poland refused to supply oil to the German refinery, intending to compensate for Russian oil imports through the Druzhba pipeline, due to the fact that the plant's owner was Rosneft, a Russian energy company.
"This is another argument in a piggy bank [of evidences] that Warsaw does not intend to play any game, even according to its own rules that were declared. Warsaw has interests that have nothing to do with mutual respect, mutually beneficial partnership with Ukraine," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
The spokeswoman argued that Warsaw is driven by the desire to play the geopolitical card now, while completely forgetting all European promises and oaths of European solidarity."
Poland disregards the needs and interests of its European neighbors and partners in the EU, and would rather take advantage of the situation, notably as Warsaw has been demanding the complete reduction of Russian presence in German oil refineries since the start of the war in Ukraine.
Read more: US Vice President, Polish PM talk Ukraine, NATO Eastern flank: WH