Poland seeks to play down German war reparations row

2018-01-18 09:26


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Berlin - Warsaw on Wednesday played down a row with Germany over its demand for World War II reparations, with Poland's foreign minister saying the issue should not hinder good relations between neighbours.

"At the moment, there is no question of it becoming an obstacle standing between the relationship of our two countries," said Jacek Czaputowicz, in his first visit to Berlin since he was appointed Poland's foreign minister in a reshuffle last week.

"We're looking for solutions... This discussion should take place on the basis of experts," he said after talks with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel, adding that Warsaw is "open to discussions".

Government disputes

Poland's right-wing government ruffled feathers in Berlin when it revived in July the issue of reparations - an issue that for years had been considered settled.

Germany has firmly rejected Poland's claims, pointing to a 1953 decision by the country's then communist regime to relinquish demands for compensation.

But Poland's nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) government disputes the validity of Warsaw's 1953 deal, arguing that it was made under the diktat of the Soviet Union.

PiS lawmakers set up a parliamentary committee in September tasked with looking into the scale of reparations they claim Germany owes, but did not set a deadline to publish their findings.

Polish ministers have estimated a potential bill reaching as high as €810 billion.

"We want to have this debate in Poland, it's important," said Czaputowicz, adding that "we have the right to know recent history and the communist period when Polish leaders were not allowed to make their own decisions".

Gabriel stressed that there is a "clear judicial position of the government in which there is no reason to talk about reparations".

Justice reforms

During World War II, Poland suffered the brunt of a two-front attack by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

Six million Polish citizens, including three million of Jewish origin, were killed under the Nazi occupation of 1939-45, and Warsaw was virtually razed.

The reparations controversy comes as relations between Berlin and Warsaw have been strained over a slew of justice reforms introduced by the PiS since it took power in 2015.

The European Commission last month launched unprecedented judiciary proceedings against the Polish changes, which Brussels says place courts under the control of the PiS government and threaten democracy.

Read more on:    germany  |  poland

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.