Official: Poland entitled to seek German WWII reparations

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

WARSAW, Poland — A Polish official said his country is entitled to seek World War II reparations from Germany, arguing Tuesday that no documents or records show Poland ever renounced its right to do so.

Berlin has repeatedly said there is no legal basis for the claims because the matter was settled in a 1953 agreement. But prominent ruling party lawmaker Arkadiusz Mularczyk told The Associated Press said that a copy of a 1953 note from a government session, signed only by Poland’s communist leader of the time, Boleslaw Bierut, is not legally binding.

Poland’s current authorities have argued the 1953 decision is invalid because it was dictated by Moscow when Poland was a satellite of the Soviet Union.

Mularczyk believes that raising reparations with Berlin would improve bilateral ties. He said Poland has not been adequately compensated for the human and material losses it suffered under Nazi German occupation from 1939-45.

Mularczyk heads a team of experts counting the losses and their long-term effects on Poland, and intends to present it to Germany and other countries on Sept. 1, the 80th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland.

Poland’s ruling conservative nationalist Law and Justice party said last year that the nation deserves compensation for its losses and set up a team of lawmakers under Mularczyk’s leadership to estimate how much is due.

He said the estimate of losses will be higher than the currently cited $850 million, which derives from a 1947 count. It will include losses to all who were Poland’s citizens in 1939, including Jews and other minorities.

Germany has paid some compensation to individual Poles who were forced labourers or victims of German pseudo-medical experiments during the Nazis’ wartime occupation.

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