Poland puts its WWII losses at $1.3 trillion, demands German reparations

Poland’s largest trading partner and fellow member of the European Union and NATO, Germany It previously said that all financial claims related to World War II had been settled.

Poland’s new estimate tops the ruling party lawmaker’s 2019 estimate of $850 billion. The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has repeatedly called for reparations since coming to power in 2015, but Poland has not officially demanded reparations.

“The amount offered was accepted using a very limited, conservative method that could be increased,” Law and Justice (PiS) leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski told a news conference.

The anti-German stance, which PiS has often used to rally its constituency, has strained relations with Berlin. After Russia invaded Ukraine, it intensified amid criticism of Berlin’s reliance on Russian gas and its reluctance to help Kiev.

About 6 million Poles, including 3 million Polish Jews, were killed during the war and Warsaw was razed to the ground following the 1944 uprising, in which about 200,000 civilians died.

The German government and the Foreign Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In 1953 Poland’s then-communist rulers dropped all claims to war reparations under pressure from the Soviet Union, which wanted to absolve East Germany of any responsibilities. PiS says the deal is void because Poland cannot negotiate fair compensation.

Donald Tusk, head of Poland’s largest opposition party, Civic Platform, said on Thursday that Kaczynski’s announcement was “not about reparations”.

“This is an internal political campaign to rebuild support for the ruling party,” he said.

PiS still leads in most opinion polls, but its margin on the Civic Platform has shrunk in recent months amid criticism of its handling of rising inflation and the economic slowdown.

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