German WWII reparations for Poland: ‘The perpetrator does not decide when the case is closed’

Polish professor and MEP Ryszard Legutko says that Germany’s responsibility for World War II reparations remains in force

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Polskie Radio 24

Germany has argued that the matter of reparations to Poland for World War II is closed, and the country will not pay any of the €1.3 trillion Warsaw is demanding, but some in Poland are rejecting this stance.

Polish MEP Prof. Ryszard Legutko repeated the argument used by Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau that it was not for the perpetrator to decide whether the case is closed or not.

“This argument should be publicized and be heard out,” said Legutko in an interview for Polish Radio 24.

“This decision is for the victims from Poland, not from Germany, the country responsible,” said Legutko, adding that “modern-day Germany likes to repeat that they feel guilty for the crimes of their ancestors, but they have no moral, nor any other right to state that the case is closed.”

According to Legutko, sharing knowledge about the losses suffered by Poland during World War II would greatly help in the matter of reparations. However, as he pointed out, that is “hard and tedious work,” as we live in “a world, where historical illiteracy is common, especially in the West of Europe, where people have no knowledge about World War II.”

The MEP also commented on the topic of Germany’s role as the leader of the EU. According to him, it is the role of Poland to remind that “there should be equality of all entities and a sense of responsibility, not only for what is now, but also for the past.”

“Poland’s matters regarding the reparations should be put in this context,” Legutko added.

On Oct. 3, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau signed a diplomatic note regarding reparations, which was delivered to Germany. The next day, during her visit to Warsaw, Foreign Minister of Germany Annalena Baerbock repeated the stance of the German government, arguing that the matter of World War II reparations was closed.

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