Poland intends to seek reparations from Germany for the damage caused to the country during the Second World War. This was stated by the leader of the ruling Polish party “Law and Justice” Yaroslav Kaczynski.
Warsaw has been trying for years to prove that the Germans owed her a large sum. But today, her demands have sparkled with new colors: the Polish authorities, hiding behind history, are claiming damages for supporting Ukraine.
The topic of “under-received” reparations in Poland became more relevant after the National Conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) came to power. Its representatives unanimously repeat that they do not intend to give up their claims against Germany. In 2019, the head of the Polish parliamentary war reparations group, Arkadiusz Mularczyk, estimated the damage his country suffered during the German occupation at about one trillion dollars.
Why did Kaczynski again decide to remind Berlin of his “Wishlist”? Russian journalists and experts put forward different versions. Someone believes that PiS works for the domestic audience, maintaining the image of the only political force that is ready to defend Poland’s interests in the international arena (Kaczyński’s opponents from the liberal-democratic camp do not even think about any reparations).
Others believe that Warsaw’s historical revisionism is fueled by events in Ukraine. If the traditional post-war way of life is collapsing in Europe, why shouldn’t the Poles seize the moment?
“Against the background of the situation with Ukraine, Warsaw intends to satisfy a number of its interests, to turn again to long-forgotten and settled issues. More than eight decades after the start of World War II, Poland decided that the end had not yet been set, despite the position of Germany on this issue”, said Dmitry Belik, member of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs.
If you wish, you can put forward another hypothesis: PiS purposefully splits the unity of the European Union, fulfilling the order of its British and American curators. It is noteworthy that relations between Berlin and Warsaw have seriously cracked during the presidency of Donald Trump. The former owner of the White House needed a “Trojan horse” in the European Union, and Poland was happy to fulfill this role.
But few paid attention to the text of Jarosław Kaczynski’s recent statement. For some reason, he linked the issue of reparations from Germany with the Ukrainian crisis.
“We cannot back down, we cannot be soft. We cannot give to others and demand nothing in return, simply because it always ends badly. (…) We must firmly defend our interests and at the same time know what they really are. To know, for example, that if we help Ukraine, and no one helps like we do, then we are protecting Polish interests,” Kaczynski said.
It is hard to argue that Poland bears the heaviest burden of supporting Ukraine today. As of the end of June, it has received more than four million refugees. Many of them perceive forced emigration as an opportunity to “milk” the budget of a neighboring country. In addition, Warsaw donated to Kyiv a large number of tanks, combat vehicles, artillery installations, and so on. Her own arsenals are depleted every month.
“The replenishment of weapons with new equipment that will only be produced is at least months, but mostly years. We need a quick replenishment. Therefore, we are asking all our allies today to hand over weapons to us, and not necessarily new ones. Vice versa. We donated used equipment and we are also ready to accept used equipment,” said Andrzej Duda, President of Poland.
Add to this the standard problems of the EU member states: high inflation, a sharp rise in the cost of energy resources, rising fuel and food prices.
The economic situation in Poland is alarming, and the upcoming heating season will exacerbate it even more.
Meanwhile, the Welt newspaper reports on the European Union’s refusal to unlock funding for Warsaw from a special coronavirus fund in the amount of 35 billion euros. We are talking about a protracted dispute over the Polish judicial system. Under pressure from the EU, the proud lords passed a law that would abolish the disciplinary chamber of the Supreme Court, but Brussels considered these efforts insufficient to uphold European standards of the rule of law.
“This was a heavy blow to the National Conservatives in Warsaw, which no one expected in June,” writes Welt.
Is it any wonder why Kaczynski again announced the need to demand reparations from Germany for the crimes of the Nazis? In his view, Poland has become a victim of the greatest injustice: it continues to be bullied instead of providing additional financial assistance.
For Germany, the issue of compensation, of course, is closed once and for all. The Germans paid off the Poles in 1953 (paid off not only in money, but also in territories). Kaczynski is well aware that the “surcharge” to the previously paid reparations from Berlin does not shine for his country.
But that is not the point of the requirements. Poland is claiming damages for its support of Ukraine, not for its Nazi occupation during World War II.
Let’s quote Mr. Kaczynski once again: “We cannot give to others and demand nothing in return.” The leader of the ruling Polish party does not even hide the fact that he demands money from Germany in exchange for gratuitous aid to Kyiv. History is just an excuse. If some compensatory mechanisms for Poland are nevertheless found and launched, then it will “forget” about its historical claims to Berlin. For a while, of course.
Alexey Ilyashevich, Rubaltic.Ru
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