Poland says Germany refused talks on WW2 reparations

Even though Germany considers financial claims to be settled, Poland's ruling party PiS has repeatedly called for reparations.

Flag of Poland, variant polish coat of arms. (photo credit: OLEK REMESZ/ WIKEPEDIA COMMONS)
Flag of Poland, variant polish coat of arms.
(photo credit: OLEK REMESZ/ WIKEPEDIA COMMONS)

Germany has rebuffed the latest push by Poland's nationalist government for vast reparations over World War Two, saying in response to a diplomatic note that the issue was closed, the foreign ministry in Warsaw said on Tuesday.

Poland estimates its World War Two losses caused by Germany at 6.2 trillion zlotys ($1.40 trillion) and has demanded reparations, but Berlin has repeatedly said all financial claims related to the war have been settled.

"According to the German government, the matter of reparations and compensation for war losses remains closed, and the German government does not intend to enter into negotiations on this matter," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"The government of the Republic of Poland will continue its efforts to settle debts resulting from German aggression and occupation in the years 1939-1945."

Poland reliquished claims under pressure

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

 A section of Żelazna Street connecting the ‘large ghetto’ and ‘small ghetto’ areas in Nazi-occupied Warsaw. (credit: WIKIPEDIA) A section of Żelazna Street connecting the ‘large ghetto’ and ‘small ghetto’ areas in Nazi-occupied Warsaw. (credit: WIKIPEDIA)

In 1953, Poland's then-communist rulers relinquished all claims to war reparations under pressure from the Soviet Union, which wanted to free East Germany, also a Soviet satellite, from any liabilities.

Poland's ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party says that agreement is invalid because Poland was unable to negotiate fair compensation. It has revived calls for compensation since it took power in 2015 and has made the promotion of Poland's wartime victimhood a central plank of its appeal to nationalism.

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

There was no immediate confirmation of the diplomatic exchange by Germany.