Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the radical right-wing Law and Justice party that has led Poland since 2015, said he wanted Germany to pay compensation for the losses suffered during the occupation of the country during the Second World War. According to the party, the estimated damage that Germany would have to pay would be 1.3 trillion. The announcement was made on Thursday in Warsaw, during the commemoration of the 83rd anniversary of Hitler’s invasion that caused the start of the Second World War.
It is not the first time that Law and Justice has asked for a similar thing from Germany, despite the fact that both countries are part of the European Union and NATO, and have solid trade relations. The Polish government, however, has never officially made this type of request and the fact that Kaczynski has returned to talk about it has been interpreted by many as a political move to gain support in view of the elections to be held next year.
Many commentators argue that from a legal point of view the chances of Poland getting compensation are slim. Kaczynski himself said in his speech that “it is a path that will take a long time and will not be easy” and that he does not expect “rapid success”. After the war, in fact, Poland had obtained many territories from defeated Germany and in 1953 the Communist government that led the country had given up applying for compensation to East Germany, probably due to pressure from the Soviet Union.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that “the question of damage repair is closed” and that this is a fundamental prerequisite “for today’s European order”.
The Polish government and the party that leads it are having a particularly difficult time due to rising energy costs and inflation. Furthermore, since February the European Union has been withholding funds destined for Poland to offset a fine that the Polish government has been refusing to pay for months. Donald Tusk, leader of the ruling opposition party, accused Kaczynski of pulling out the demand for compensation from Germany just for electoral propaganda.CopyAMP code.
During the Nazi occupation which lasted from 1939 to 1945, the city of Warsaw was razed to the ground and about 6 million Poles died – a fifth of the population at the time. The anti-German sentiment linked to the memory of the Second World War is still alive in many Polish citizens and is often used by Law and Justice to obtain consensus. Expert Piotr Buras told Bloomberg that in Poland a manifestation of anti-German phobia such as that of these times has not been seen since the end of communism: “with the elections in a year, Law and Justice does not have many effective ways to revive its popularity, so it must go to the attack and identify an enemy – and Germany is a good candidate to be one ».
The latest triggering event in Polish hatred of Germany was the invasion of Ukraine, after which Poland spent a lot of time against Russia, cutting off gas supplies and banning Russian tourists from entering the country. and criticized Germany for not being as drastic.
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