German, Polish leaders sayreparation issue closed

15th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

15 September 2004 , WARSAW/BERLIN - Polish and German leaders have declared the issue of war reparations from either side as closed. Polish Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz said Poland would set up a task force to estimate the losses it suffered under Nazi German occupation, but would not pursue reparation claims against Germany. "Legally the issue of reparations was closed long ago and we don't want to burden Polish-German relations with it," Cimoszewicz told reporters. Speaking after a cabinet me

15 September 2004

WARSAW/BERLIN - Polish and German leaders have declared the issue of war reparations from either side as closed.

Polish Foreign Minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz said Poland would set up a task force to estimate the losses it suffered under Nazi German occupation, but would not pursue reparation claims against Germany.

"Legally the issue of reparations was closed long ago and we don't want to burden Polish-German relations with it," Cimoszewicz told reporters.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting to discuss Friday's parliamentary resolution calling for German reparations, Prime Minister Marek Belka said the issue was "once and for all time" closed.

In Berlin, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said he was pleased the Polish government had underscored their "common view".

He said he rejected both the Polish parliament's resolution and reparation claims against Poland by Preussische Treuhand, or Prussian Trustees, a private company with expellees as shareholders.

The Polish parliamentary resolution had formally requested the government to open talks with Germany about possible war reparations.

Despite having suffered massive human and material losses during World War II, Poland never received any reparations.

In their resolution the parliament also insisted Poland was not legally obliged to compensate German citizens who had been forced to abandon properties in former German, now-Polish territory.

The legislators passed the resolution after the Prussian Trustees prompted a public outcry in Poland by announcing massive compensation claims by German citizens who lost properties.

Polish and German leaders have declared that their governments would never support private claims by Germans seeking compensation from Poland.

Nonetheless, the Polish government plans to go ahead with appraising the scale of losses it suffered under Nazi Germany occupation between 1939 and 1945.

"It will not be for reparations, but to remind everyone who has forgotten what World War II was, what its effects were," Minister Cimoszewicz said.

More than six million Polish citizens, half of them of Jewish, were killed under the Nazis. The capital Warsaw and many other Polish cities were left in ruins and the country's thriving pre-war industrial sector was all but wiped out.

Cimoszewicz announced Tuesday that Poland and Germany would appoint new commissioners to deal with tricky bilateral issues.

Recent controversies over US policy on Iraq, national voting rights within the European Union, and the issue of wartime suffering in both countries have injected new tension into Polish-German relations.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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