Polish Foreign Minister signs diplomatic note to Germany on WWII reparations


WARSAW, Oct 3 (Reuters) – Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau on Monday signed a diplomatic note to Germany regarding World War II reparations, he said on Monday, formalizing Poland’s claim for compensation before the visit of the head of Berlin diplomacy.

The move comes after ruling nationalists in Poland estimated last month that Germany owed the country 6.2 trillion zlotys ($1.26 trillion). Germany, Poland’s biggest trading partner, said all financial claims related to the war had been settled.

“(The note) expresses the position of the Polish Foreign Minister that the parties should take immediate steps to settle permanently and effectively… the question of the consequences of German aggression and occupation,” he said. said Rau during a press conference.

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Foreign Ministry spokesman Lukasz Jasina told reporters that Rau would raise the issue with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock when he visits Warsaw on Tuesday.

Some six million Poles, including three million Polish Jews, were killed during the war and Warsaw was leveled following a 1944 uprising in which around 200,000 civilians died.

In 1953, the then communist Polish leadership renounced all claims for war reparations under pressure from the Soviet Union, which wanted to free East Germany, also a Soviet satellite, from liability.

Poland’s ruling nationalists, Law and Justice (PiS), say the deal is invalid because Poland was unable to negotiate fair compensation. He has revived calls for reparations since coming to power in 2015 and has made promoting the victimization of wartime Poland central to his call for nationalism.

The combative stance towards Germany, often used by the PiS to mobilize its electorate, has strained relations with Berlin.

The German Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

($1 = 4.9260 zlotys)

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Reporting by Alan Charlish, Marek Strzelecki, Pawel Florkiewicz and Riham Alkousaa in Berlin, writing by Joanna Plucinska; Editing by Toby Chopra, editing by Ed Osmond

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