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Germany snubs Poland’s request for WWII reparations

origin 1German Chancellor Olaf Scholz welcomes Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in Berlin, Germany on Thursday November 3, 2022. ©Michele Tantussi/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved

Germany rejected Warsaw’s request to enter into negotiations to compensate Poland for damages caused during World War II, the Polish Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday.

Berlin considers the matter closed, according to the ministry.

He said Poland would now turn to the United Nations to support its bid for 1.2 billion euros in compensation suffered during Nazi Germany’s 1939-1945 occupation.

“According to the German government, the war reparations and compensation case remains closed,” the ministry said in a press release. “The German government does not intend to open negotiations on this matter.”

Poland was devastated by the Second World War, with 220 of its 1,000 inhabitants killed in the violence.

40% of Poland’s cultural assets were destroyed and nearly 50% of its territory was handed over to the Soviet Union after the war ended.

Germany argues that compensation was paid to Eastern Bloc nations in the years following the war, while territories Poland lost in the east as borders were compensated for some of the pre-war German lands.

Poland sent the official request to Germany last October.

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Berlin insisted the matter was closed due to a decision made during the communist era, which saw Warsaw drop its compensation claim.

Poland says it stopped seeking compensation at the time due to pressure from Moscow.

Polish diplomats took the case to the UN on Tuesday, asking the organization for “cooperation and support so that Poland can receive compensation for the damage caused by the aggression and occupation by the Germans”.

There were no immediate comments from the United Nations.

Polish leaders hinted that there was a possibility for negotiations.

Germany claims Poland gave up on war reparations in 1953. It was Moscow that decided that Poland would receive only a small fraction of the reparations.

Berlin has raised the same arguments against claims raised by Greece and Italy in the past.

During her visit to Warsaw in October, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that “from the point of view of the federal government, the issue of reparations is closed”.

He said his country had assumed “its historic responsibility”.

Since coming to power in Poland in 2015, the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has frequently championed the issue of war reparations, insisting that Germany has a “moral duty” in the matter.