“The topic of war reparations is closed” – says German Foreign Minister

On Monday, 3 October, Poland’s Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau signed a diplomatic note to Germany concerning reparations for damages committed by this state on Poland during WWII. 

On Tuesday, Zbigniew Rau handed the document to Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Barboeck. The latter arrived in Warsaw among others to attend the Warsaw Security Forum conference. 

Rau said the note encourages both sides to take action “without delay” to address the effects of Germany’s 1939-45 occupation in a “lasting and complex, legally binding as well as material way.

The Polish and German visions are colliding. Warsaw argues that payment of reparations would allow for the strengthening of bilateral relations. On the other hand, Berlin estimates that the matter was closed long ago. 

In a joint press conference following their meeting, both Foreign Ministers referred to their conversation. Zbigniew Rau underlined that the trauma caused by the German invasion launched against Poland in September 1939 is still palpable among Poles. 

Germany’s colonial and extermination policy led to negative consequences for Poland’s society, its economic potential, and its national heritage” – he explained.

Rau added that due to „dramatically different experiences with imperial tradition and politics, Poland and Germany have a chance to jointly create a model example of overcoming the traumas caused by imperial politics, territorial and material plunder, attempts to colonise and exterminate entire nations.

Yet, although Annalena Barboeck recalled German brutality during WWII and praised Poland for its contribution to the reunification of Germany, she stated that “the stance of the Federal Republic of Germany on the issue of reparations is closed”. 

A recent report on losses suffered by Poland during the war was prepared by the Parliamentary Team for Estimating the Amount of Compensation Due to Poland from Germany for Damages Caused During World War II, led by the Law and Justice MP Arkadiusz Mularczyk. A group of 30 scientists, including historians, economists, property appraisers, and reviewers, was responsible for the report. You can read more in our interview with Arkadiusz Mularczyk Polish MP: “Germany does everything to postpone the topic of war reparations for Poland”.

 

Image: Twitter (MSZ_RP)

Author: Sébastien Meuwissen

 

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