Kaczyński: Germans dig in on WWII reparations to Poland

Leader of Poland’s ruling party called German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s refusal to discuss reparations a barricade that Poland will now have to force down

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Polskie Radio 24
Poland's head of the ruling party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

After Poland formally requested $1.3 billion in reparations for damages suffered during Germany’s Second World War occupation, the leader of Law and Justice (PiS), Jarosław Kaczyńsk, said Germany is digging in and refusing to pay.

On Monday, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau issued the diplomatic note for a war reparations claim against Germany, and the next day, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock visited Poland, where she met with Rau.

At a joint press conference, she said that the question of reparations from Germany’s point of view was closed.

Speaking on Polish Radio 24, Kaczyński said in response that Poland would pursue the matter with Germany and on the international and global stage as the answer given was unsatisfactory and without any foundation.

He noted that Germany has paid over 70 countries some form of reparations, mainly for the Second World War but also for events that took place before the First World War, such as the claim by Namibia.

“But they deny such payment to Poland, hiding behind decisions taken by communist Poland that had no foundation in law,” Kaczyński said.

He criticized the German response for lacking any substantive merit. 

The leader of PiS feels that the German response is an attempt to “construct a barricade, and now we will have to take that barricade down.”

He noted that “from the outset, I said that this would not be easy, but we will succeed in the end.”

Asked whether Germany would listen to minister Zbigniew Rau, who said that the perpetrator of the crime cannot themselves decide on their degree of responsibility, Kaczyński responded by saying that unfortunately Germany feels that it can.

However, he added that “after the passage of time, they will understand how this shows them in a negative light and will change their minds.”

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