World

Poland again demands reparations for World War II damage from Germany

AFP-JIJI

Days before ministers from Berlin and Warsaw will sit down for bilateral talks, Polish President Andrzej Duda on Sunday repeated his country’s demand for Germany to pay reparations over World War II.

“In my view, reparations payments are not a topic that’s been dealt with,” Duda told the Sunday edition of Germany’s biggest-selling newspaper, Bild.

Citing two reports, one from former President Lech Kaczynski and another from the Polish parliament, Duda said that “the damage caused during the war was never compensated for.”

He pointed especially to the capital, Warsaw, which was “razed to the ground” by German troops.

“It’s a question of truth and responsibility,” Duda said.

Berlin has often rejected claims for war reparations in the past, saying Poland officially renounced such demands in August 1953.

But the conservative party that holds power in Warsaw argues that their country was forced to sign the document by the Soviet Union.

On Friday, the two governments will hold a joint meeting in the Polish capital.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and several of her ministers will meet Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki and his Cabinet.

In private, German diplomats suggest that Poland understands there is little chance of securing cash reparations.

Instead, Warsaw hopes to strongarm Berlin into backing it in debates over the European Union budget or Brussels’ threats to punish Poland for failing to uphold the rule of law.