Germany got off lightly in the aftermath of the Potsdam Conference following World War II, and Poland deserves compensation for the humiliation and brutality its citizens endured under Nazi occupation, the president of Poland’s governing Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jarosław Kaczyński, has claimed.
Speaking to Polskie Radio 24 on Sunday, Kaczyński told listeners that Germany started the war, committed unbelievable crimes and humiliated the Polish nation, and should therefore be held to account and made to pay adequate compensation to Poland.
“They did it as a whole nation,” Kaczyński said of Germany, “because very often Poles who, for example, were forced labor on farms, where they worked in an extremely disgusting way, were humiliated and treated worse than animals.
“If Germany had been treated as it was in many plans and formulated not in the Soviets but in the West, today they would be a very, very poor and much less numerous country than they are,” he claimed, adding that the defeated German nation was “treated extremely kindly” given the circumstances.
“Let them thank God that only so. They owe us, they have to pay,” he insisted.
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“Germany considers themselves a moral power. That is like if I considered myself a basketball player in the NBA,” said Poland’s Kaczyński, who is 5’5″ tall
Poland received a large part of Germany’s eastern territory at the end of the Second World War and millions of ethnic Germans were expelled from the land. Many of these Germans were also murdered by advancing Soviet forces but also Polish paramilitary groups, with both groups seeking revenge for atrocities committed by Germany during the course of the war, which resulted in mass deaths on both Polish and Soviet territories.
The German government estimates that 2 million Germans civilians were unnecessarily killed In the closing days of the Second World War across Europe, many of which were the women, children and the elderly. In addition, an estimated 12 to 14 million ethnic Germans lost their homes.
Kaczyński argues that the territories recovered by Poland following the carving up of Nazi Germany after the war were also heavily damaged. He says that insufficient consideration has been offered to make amends for the human and financial price paid by Poland and its people.
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The Polish politician’s remarks are the latest in a long-running feud between the neighboring countries, with the Polish government adamant that Germany has not sufficiently paid its debts for the atrocities of the last century.
An initial request for compensation by Poland in September was roundly dismissed by Germany, which insisted the chapter was now settled and closed.
A formal diplomatic note was sent to Berlin by Poland’s Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau the following month, demanding war reparations to the tune of $1.3 trillion.
With little effect, this was subsequently followed up by a letter to approximately 50 NATO and EU member states outlining the reasons why Warsaw was demanding reparations and explaining the Polish government expects talks to begin on the matter as soon as possible.