Polish parliament overwhelmingly approves reparations claim against Germany for WWII losses

“The wrongs against millions of Poles will not stop being heard until they have been righted”

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: PAP

The Polish parliament on Wednesday adopted a resolution stating that Poland has never given up on its reparations claim against Germany and called on the Germans to accept political, historic, legal, and financial responsibility for all the damages caused by its invasion and occupation of Poland during the Second World War.

The resolution comes after a report compiled by the Polish government showed that Germany owed Poland €1.3 trillion for the enormous human, cultural, and economic losses Poland suffered during the war.

The resolution holding Germany responsible for paying reparations was backed by 418 out of 460 MPs in the Polish parliament on Wednesday. Just four MPs voted against, all of them from the liberal Civic Coalition caucus. While most of the liberals voted for the motion, 15 opposition MPs abstained from voting. 

Poland’s Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau said that a diplomatic note with the reparations claim would go out in October, but he would not be drawn in terms of the level to which the note would be addressed. Asked about support from the opposition, Rau said that he welcomed such a development but was not too hopeful that the opposition would show its support for the measure going into the future.

The resolution adopted by parliament calls on the German government to accept full political, historic, legal, and financial responsibility for the losses suffered by Poland and its citizens and which were caused by German aggression and occupation. 

It lists genocide, forced labor, and atrocities against civilians as the major crimes committed. 

The resolution makes clear that Poland never received any compensation for its human and material losses. It also states that the Polish state never gave up its restitution claim against Germany. It alleges that these claims are not covered by a statute of limitations and that they are morally and legally valid.

“The wrongs against millions of Poles will not stop being heard until they have been righted,“ it adds. 

Interestingly, the resolution asks for adequate compensation without specifically using the term reparations. This is because Germany has been arguing that legally Poland waived its rights to reparations in 1953. Back then, Poland was ruled by a communist regime subordinated to the Stalinist Soviet Union.

The resolution also states that Poland has not received any reparations from Russia with regard to the aggression against Poland by the USSR, but that these need to be properly assessed and quantified before any claim is made.

The reparations claim against Germany is more advanced as a report on the full damages was presented on Sept. 1 following several years of research. It has quantified the damages at $1.3 trillion

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