Poland, Germany should negotiate reparations: US WW2 Veteran
US World War II veteran Frank Cohn urged both Poland and Germany to negotiate war reparations.
Poland and Germany should negotiate reparations for World War II damages, but must consider the time factor during the negotiations, according to US World War II veteran Frank Cohn.
“Poland obviously was damaged badly by Germany and should have received reparations. Perhaps better late than never. I guess there should be negotiations and the time factor ought to come into consideration,” Cohn said.
Germany informed Poland in late December that it does not intend to negotiate wartime reparations, according to the Polish Foreign Ministry.
While Cohn acknowledged that Germany caused damage to Poland during the war and that it should have received reparations, he added that Warsaw should have requested reparations sooner. In addition, Cohn said the amount of $1.36 trillion in reparations that Poland is requesting is “a bit excessive.”
“I think Poland would have to show that damage done in those days still impacts presently. The answer to that proposal could provide guidance as to what amount should be discussed,” he said.
Cohn, a retired US Army Colonel, was born in 1925 in a Jewish family in the then-German city of Breslau, which became the Polish city of Wroclaw in 1945 as a result of border changes made after World War II. He emigrated to the United States in 1938.
Relations between Poland and Germany have been strained by Warsaw's repeated references to war damages and reparations demands. Warsaw estimates that the Nazi occupation of Poland during WWII cost it $1.36 trillion. Berlin claims that under the 1953 agreement, the Polish government waived all claims for reparations.
Earlier on Tuesday, Poland rejected Germany's refusal to compensate Warsaw for World War II damages dealt to the country during the Nazi era. "We do not accept Germany's position. We reject it in its entirety and treat it as unfounded and wrong," said the Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Arkadiusz Mularczyk.
The lower chamber of Poland's parliament voted last September to demand Germany pay $1.3 trillion in reparations for damages sustained during the Nazi era.