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March 2, 2018 10:54 am

Polish Lawmaker: Due World War II Reparations From Germany Could Stand at $850 Billion

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Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Warsaw has the right to demand reparations from Germany potentially worth $850 billion for destroyed property and people killed during World War Two, the politician in charge of reparations said on Friday.

The Polish ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) has revived the issue of war reparations at a time when Israeli politicians accuse it of attempting to whitewash the role of Poles in German war crimes against Jews during the conflict.

German parliamentary legal experts said last year that Warsaw had no right to demand reparations.

The Polish government stopped short of making a direct claim to Germany but the issue could lead to tensions between the two EU governments, analysts say. Germany is Poland’s largest trade partner and Poland is the biggest recipient of EU aid.

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“We are talking about very large but justified sums for war crimes, for the destroyed cities, the lost demographic potential of our country,” Arkadiusz Mularczyk, the head of the parliamentary committee on reparations, told Polsat News broadcaster.

Mularczyk said the value of reparations due from Germany could reach $850 billion but this sum could be revised as new estimates would be made later this year.

The PiS lawmaker said Poland, which came under Soviet domination for more than four decades after the war, never received war reparations from Germany.

PiS revived the issue at a time when US senators approved a bill directing America to help in efforts aimed at the restitution of heirless Jewish property to assist Holocaust survivors.

PiS has invoked Germany’s occupation of Poland during World War Two as part of efforts it says aims to promote patriotism at home, and to counter accusations that some Poles were also perpetrators of wartime crimes against the Jews.

Nazi Germany, together with the Soviet Union, attacked and occupied Poland in 1939. Nazis killed most of the 3.2 million Jews that lived in Poland.

Poland never surrendered to Nazi Germany and lost about 3 million of its non-Jewish citizens during the war, including many of its intellectuals and elite. The capital Warsaw was razed to the ground by Nazis in 1944 after a failed uprising in which 200,000 civilians died.

The reparations issue has complicated Poland’s diplomatic work with Berlin, two sources at the Foreign Ministry told Reuters.

“Our ties with Germany could be better and this does not help,” one source said.

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  • Jurek Kawalek

    Ron, if it was any kind of reparation why after this shift of territory why we posses now less as before war….? Would you like such reparation after which you are poorer as before? Regards!

    • Ron Jeffry

      you were almost entirely landlocked before the war; after the war you have a large coastline, naval presence potential (which for defense, matters), and more ability for trade given sea routes.

  • Jurek Kawalek

    “Uncomfortable truth. If Jews were to hide Poles during the Warld War II, no Pole would survive.” Don’t worry it is a Jewish production:

  • JetHag

    They are gaining popularity because they are actually fulfilling campaign promises such as cracking down on corruption and tax cheats, stopping the sale of national assets to foreign entities for bargain basement prices, as well as reforming a broken, fossilized judicial system still dominated by “post communists.” The success of PiS’s social programs would be the envy of progressives in the US if any of them bothered to learn something about Poland instead of hysterically casting this govt as extremists or right wing nationalists.

  • JetHag

    No, read some history. The border shifts had nothing to do with reparations. The land east of the Oder/Neisse was in compensation for the half of Poland that was annexed by the USSR, including the relatively undamaged cultural centers of Wilno and Lwow. In exchange, Poland got the heavily damaged Stettin and Breslau and millions of Polish refugees from the east. Poland experienced a net loss of territory. Reparations are a separate issue which encompasses destroyed cities, over 800 villages burned to the ground, looted industry, stolen art, not to mention the human cost which is incalculable.

  • JetHag

    “…and to counter accusations that some Poles were also perpetrators of wartime crimes against the Jews.” Stop spreading fake news. No one in Poland denies that SOME Poles were collaborators. This is in contrast to a complete lack of admission on the part of Jews today that some among them were complicit with the Germans in the annihilation of their own people. Moreover, contrary to your report, the reparations issue has been discussed since long before the recent “controversy” resulting from the IPN law.

  • Dani

    I completely agree with the Polish war claim to Germany. I´m surprised that this has not been already done since the fall of Berlin´s wall in 1989.
    Having said so, Poland also has to pay for the crimes comitted to the Jews. There is no excuse for any murdering of Jews committed by gangs of Polish citizens on theirown before, during and after the Nazi ocupation. Special atention should be made to the crimes commtted by the AA against Jews in the woods during the war. After paying for all these priceless claims, they will have to pay for all the jewish property that has been ilegally confiscated by private or public initiative. There were at least one million houses taken.

    • JetHag

      The official in charge of confiscating private property following the Soviet imposition of communism was Hilary Minc.

    • Liatris Spicata

      What was the AA? One problem with your claim is, according to my understanding, under international law, claims can be made aganst governments, but not against “gangs of citizens”.

      Of course, if Poland has a viable claim against Germany, they also would have one against the Soviet Union, which, no longer exists, but maybe they could stick Russia with some of it.

  • Richard Harris

    Russians today say that the Communist Revolution in Russia was started by mostly Jews and not Russians. Do you consider the Russians who say that to be anti-semitic?

  • Lucy S.

    “Razed to the ground” is a redundancy. Should say just “Razed”.

  • dante

    Poland has a right to compensation from Germany that is as full as possible, it being clearly understood that Poland can never be fully compensated for the savage crimes committed by Germany. it nevertheless should be noted that, while Poland did not conceive or plan the German war against the Jews, Poland did not defend its Jews and, in fact, many Poles collaborated with the German attempts to destroy the Jewish People.

    • JetHag

      The Holocaust did not occur in a vacuum. Poland could not “defend” three million ethnic Poles murdered, almost three million more exploited as slave labor, millions of Poles evicted from their homes and deported, or hundreds of thousands of ethnic Polish children of “Aryan” appearance kidnapped and sent to Germany to be raised as Germans. I should also point out that Poland was the only country which created an agency solely for the aid of Jews. Find out about Zegota before accusing Poles of “not defending.” As for “many collaborated,” it was a few thousand out of tens of millions. They were considered the dregs of society and were executed by the underground when conditions permitted. Please refrain from regurgitating canards.