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Majority of Poles wantGerman war reparations

Published on September 22, 2004

22 September 2004

WARSAW – Sixty-four percent of Poles say they want the Polish government to seek war reparations from Germany, while 29 percent oppose the idea and 7 percent are undecided, according to a new poll published Wednesday in Poland’s centrist Rzeczpospolita daily.

The results are in line with a recent Polish parliamentary resolution which calls on on the Polish government to open talks with Germany on possible reparations for the losses Poland suffered under Nazi occupation during World War II.

Both the Polish and German governments declared the matter of war reparations “closed” in response to the resolution, but the Polish government said it would nonetheless estimate the massive human and material toll Poland suffered during WWII.

“This expectation for reparations 60 years after the war may be surprising, but it did not come out of nowhere,” Jan Skorzynski commented in an editorial in Rzeczpospolita.

Instead, it was the result by recent efforts by German post-war expellees to rewrite history by portraying Germans as “victims rather than the perpetrators of WWII”, he argued.

Skorzynski especially referred to the Federation of Expellees (BdV) which represents Germans expelled from former German, now Polish territories after the war.

A group of such expellees plans recently announced massive civil lawsuits seeking compensation from Poland for lost properties.

“The results of our survey are the voice of opposition against historical amnesia. It would be worthwhile for this voice to be heard in Berlin,” the Rzeczpospolita commentator noted, describing Polish- German relations as being at their “worst” since 1989.

Poland never received war reparations for colossal material losses suffered under the Nazis. Under the 1945 Potsdam Agreement it was guaranteed a share in the Soviet Union’s portion of reparations but Poland’s former communist regime forfeited the right in 1953.


Subject: German news