6 million printed copies of the works of Marx and Lenin were part of East German WWII reparations for Poland

A Polish legal expert claims that Germany is discriminating against Poland, as Germany has already paid reparations to countries that suffered far smaller losses from the Second World War

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: wPolityce.pl
via: PAP
The head of a statue of German communist philosopher Karl Marx is covered with ice on a cold winter day in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Dec. 16, 2022. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Dr. Konrad Graczy, a Polish lawyer working for the University of Silesia and deputy director of the research bureau of the Institute for National Remembrance (IPN), said that much of the issue around reparations to Poland is clouded by the Soviet Union and how it handled the issue decades ago. He said that territory received by Poland from Germany was offset by territory seized from Poland by the Soviets, while in terms of reparations from East Germany, part of the compensation included 6 million printed works of Marx and Lenin.

Dr. Graczy, who was interviewed by the Polish Press Agency (PAP), has accused Germany of taking a highly cynical stance towards Polish WWII reparations claims. He notes how Poland was originally to receive 15 percent of the reparations the USSR was to receive from Germany. He said the USSR assessed that Poland had already benefited from acquiring former German territories in its west, although these were to offset Polish territorial losses to the USSR in its east and actually made Poland pay in coal for the claimed difference.  

As a result, claims the lawyer, Poland lost income that it could have secured from selling coal to Western Europe, where demand for it was high and prices were rising at the time. Instead of receiving reparations, Poland actually paid the Soviets in free coal. Dr. Graczy says no one from the anti-German Nazi allies was treated in such a way. 

The Soviets also forced Poland to waive most of its reparation rights against its ally, communist East Germany. Trade with it was based on barter, and this led to some curious transactions as part of the compensation due to Poland, which included 6 million printed works of Marx and Lenin. 

According to Dr. Graczyk, Germany’s assertion that the reparations issue is closed is based on their legal evaluation of a statement by the then Polish government issued on August 23, 1953, on the 14th anniversary of the signing of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact. The Soviets had forced the Polish government to sign away its rights to reparation claims in order to ease the pressure on the East German government, which was facing a possible uprising due to Soviet extortion. 

Poland was not a sovereign state at the time and the statement was of no consequence, as according to post-war agreements, Poland was to receive 15 percent of what the USSR was owed by Germany as a whole. Germany is therefore cynically hiding behind the fact that Poland was cheated by the USSR. 

Furthermore, Germany is discriminating against Poland, as it has paid reparations to all other occupied countries. Germany paid reparations to Western countries because these amounts were not as large as what would be owed to Poland. Even the ally of Nazi Germany, Italy, received reparations in 1960. Germany again exploited Poland’s weakness in 1989 when Chancellor Helmut Kohl refused to pay Polish workers who had been forced to work in Germany.

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