Polish officials outraged by ‘Die Welt’ article accusing Poles of failing to help Jews during World War II

The article by Jacques Schuster in Germany’s Die Welt broadsheet has not gone down well in Poland

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: tvp.info
In this April 19, 1943, file photo, a group of Jews are escorted from the Warsaw Ghetto by German soldiers. (AP Photo/File)

An article in Germany’s Die Welt newspaper referencing Poland’s claim for World War II reparations from Germany has been met with outrage by Polish government officials.

Jacques Schuster’s piece for the German broadsheet claimed the behavior of Poles during the conflict left “much to be desired,” and called Poland’s demand for reparations an attempt to turn attention away from the country’s existing problems.

He added that there is a need to question why Poles merely passively observed the Jewish Ghetto Uprising in 1943 in Warsaw and “did little to help Jews.”

The published article has gone down abysmally in Poland, further straining tensions between the two nations.

Poland’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Paweł Jabłoński reminded the German journalist of the numerous examples of Polish heroes who helped Jews and invited Schuster to visit Poland to learn about the truth.

The minister called Schuster out over Poland’s reparations claim, stating that Germany had murdered six million Poles, robbed and destroyed the country, and never adequately paid for the damage incurred.

The Polish Pilecki Institute’s branch in Berlin also responded to Schuster’s article, highlighting the courage displayed by many Poles in protecting Jews against their German oppressors. 

Academic Marion Brandt, from the German studies department at Gdańsk University, accused Schuster of falling prey to false stereotypes and of trying to get Poland to share the blame for the Holocaust.

The Polish government has been calling for World War II reparations for some time, demanding a total of €1.3 trillion in compensation for the devastation caused by the Nazi regime 80 years ago.

Earlier this month, Germany’s federal government dismissed the claim out of hand, insisting the matter is closed and indicating it had no intention of entering into negotiations on the matter.

This conclusion, however, continues to be deemed unacceptable by the Polish government, with the country’s Deputy Foreign Minister Arkadiusz Mularczyk tweeting on Wednesday: “The case of unsettled compensation for Poland for the effects of WWII remains open; morally, politically, and legally.

“We have an international campaign ahead of us, but I am sure that we will win for both Poland and Poles!”

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