The United States should “encourage” the German government to work towards an agreement on Second World War damages with Poland, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) has said.
Poland suffered enormous losses at the hands of Germany during the Second World War including millions killed, children kidnapped, and near-whole cities razed to the ground. Yet despite being one of the most damaged nations by Nazi Germany, it has also been among the least compensated, a situation that should be now rectified, Congressman Smith said in comments timed to coincide with the September anniversary of the start of the Second World War in 1939.
Despite that situation, the post-Cold War unified German government has never accepted responsibility for making amends, he said, calling on the U.S. Government to use its influence to encourage Germany to come to the table on the matter.
Germany has long denied it has any responsibility to pay reparations to Poland for the damage it inflicted during the Second World War, and points to a Cold War-era pronouncement when both nations were under Soviet occupation as absolving itself. Poland rejects the Moscow-directed statement’s validity in the post-Soviet world, saying it was more a device to pacify the Warsaw Pact than seriously address Germany’s war from 1939.
Ironically enough, perhaps, Germany now lobbies for Russian assets to be seized to help pay to rebuild Ukraine but just last year their Foreign Minister attempted to close down the question of reparations for her nation having brought the Holocaust to Poland, saying they believe the issue is “closed from the perspective of the German government.”
The Polish government has calculated its claim for the over five million Poles killed by the German occupation, besides other tragedies, at €1.3 trillion ($1.4tn).
Rep. Smith said in his statement that Germany does make payments to other victims of the war, and the United States has a history of encouraging restitution to victims of Nazi Germany, so hope remains for Poland. He remarked: “80 percent of the buildings of Warsaw were destroyed. Assets of Polish banks, credit institutions and insurance companies were looted or destroyed – the insurance claims of millions of Polish policy holders evaporated with the destruction of those companies.
“…Unfortunately, in central Europe many claims for compensation, from both the Nazi and communist eras, remain unresolved. Most of the states that were caught behind Russia’s ‘Iron Curtain,’ including Poland, have imperfect records in this respect. Some claims require governments to consider difficult questions – yet that can’t be an excuse for inaction.”
If Germany Wants to Set an Example to Russia on Ukraine War, it Can Start by Paying Reparations For WW2, Says Polandhttps://t.co/o5P7vXwonz
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 25, 2023
There was still work to be done, the Representative said, writing the U.S. government had “always encouraged Germany to open discussions with claimants” and saying the nation had previously put its “weight behind the principle that compensation should be made and that these questions should be resolved according to substantive justice.”
He continued: “I believe the U.S. government should do the same for Poland, clearly signalling its support for a discussion of the Polish claim. It cannot stand that Poland, the country that suffered the most under Nazi Germany, should be one of the least compensated.”
One of the most persistent voices on the matter of Second World War reparations has been Polish Secretary of State for Europe Arkadiusz Mularczyk, who also spoke out on Friday in a statement provided to Breitbart News, in which the minister implied a certain amount of compulsion to force Germany to act could be necessary.
He said: “Despite being the European country that suffered the most from German aggression, occupation and barbarism, Poland has never been adequately compensated. As long as Germany is free to decide to whom it owes compensation – and almost 2 million people are alive in Poland who can lay a direct claim to compensation – this injustice will never be resolved.”
As previously reported, Minister Mularczyk has expressed the importance of discussing German payments in the context of Russia’s recent re-invasion of Ukraine, saying if the West wants to demand Russia pay for the damage it has done to Ukrainian cities after the war is over, Berlin can lead by example.
Germany has an “unavoidable obligation to set an example of how a modern, democratic country should help to resolve conflict”, said Mularczyk, remarking that so far “German policy is simply to willfully ignore the harm it has caused”.
British MP Joins Calls for Germany to Pay Billions in Second World War Reparations to Poland
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 10, 2017
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