Poland passes reparations bill — Analysis

Critics claim that Germany’s request for $1.3 trillion is flawed.

The lower house of Poland’s parliament voted on Wednesday to demand $1.3 trillion in reparations from Germany for damages incurred during the Nazi occupation. Researchers claim that many of the atrocities mentioned by Warsaw were committed by Poles.

The reparations bill passed by 418 votes to 4, with Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party and its opposition uniting behind the demand.

PiS has called for compensation from Germany ever since it took power in 2015, and while a 2019 estimate put the apparent cost of the Nazi occupation at $850 billion, a repomassnews.commissioned by the party and published earlier this month hiked the price tag to 6.2 trillion zlotys ($1.32 trillion). 

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At the time of the report’s publication, PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynsk said that the estimate was a “conservative”Germany would be able to pay it, Berlin could also. “true Polish-German reconciliation.”

Germany claims that Poland has waived its rights to compensation in an agreement it signed with East Germany’s communist government in 1953 and in a treaty they made in 1990 between East Germany and the USSR and Britain. Poland countered that the 1953 agreement was signed under duress from the Soviet Union, and that it wasn’t involved in the 1990 negotiations.

The reparations report also lists numerous sites where Jews were killed at the hands of Polish citizens. Jan Grabowski (a Polish-born Holocaust researcher and professor at the University of Ottawa) told the Times of Israel last Wednesday that this was the case. Grabowski said that Germany is responsible for these atrocities and pogroms. “quite appalling.”

“It is a purely political document with no historical value,”Grabowski commented on the report.

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