Senior Polish officials Tuesday said they plan to expand a campaign to seek massive World War II reparations from Germany, turning to Greece and other European countries as potential allies.
Poland last year formally demanded compensation of $1.3 trillion – an amount close to the size of its annual gross domestic product – while Greece is seeking more than $300 billion for damage incurred by occupying Nazi Germans during World War II.
Germany says damage claims were settled in the aftermath of the war, but Arkadiusz Mularczyk, a deputy Polish foreign minister, said Tuesday that his government in Warsaw would collaborate with other countries that suffered under Nazi occupation.
“Countries, individually, have failed to find justice for the victims … Therefore, we must work together to seek justice,” Mularczyk told a conference on reparations, held in Athens and co-organized by the Polish Foreign Ministry.
“The harm and losses are incontestable,” he said. “The data is indisputable … 5.2 million Poles were killed. After the war, Poland’s population decreased by 11.4 million people, and 2.1 million Polish citizens were used as slave labor.”
Prokopis Pavlopoulos, a law professor who served as Greece’s president from 2015 to 2020, said Greek claims were revived following the reunification of Germany in 1990, arguing that Germany’s post-war division had been cited as a reason to limit compensation.
“Of course, Germany has apologized for its actions, acting with integrity,” Pavlopoulos said. “German officials always attend events commemorating [World War II Nazi atrocities]. That is commendable but it does not negate the claims for compensation. Those claims exist.”
Greece’s claims were formally renewed in 2019 under a previous left-wing government. The subsequent conservative administration, while not publicly pressing Berlin, said it considers that the issue remains unresolved.
Tuesday’s event was attended by the mayors and representatives of Greek towns where Nazi occupiers carried out civilian massacres as reprisals to the armed resistance and where commemorative events are held every year. [AP]