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Rewriting history: trend, stupidity or...

Poland's historical claims to Germany have been...

post 6.Sep.2017, 11:52 AM
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Joined: 6.Sep.2017

Rewriting history: trend, stupidity or deliberate distortion of facts for self-interest?

Poland's historical claims to Germany have been covered a lot recently.

Just a reminder, Poland demands reparations from Germany for the massive losses inflicted on Poland during World War II. Now, every man and his dog talks about it in Poland. For instance, the leader of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, announced that Poland had never refused Germany's World War II compensation, and so, it wished to receive a full amount of money. Then the discussion was supported by the Minister of National Defence for Poland, Antoni Macierewicz, who said there was legal groundwork for Poland to demand reparations from the Federal Republic of Germany. He also stressed that it was the decision of the Polish People's Republic, not currently independent Republic of Poland to drop the reparations. The head of Polish government, Beata Szydlo, has been of the same opinion. She considers it is time to restore justice. 'Poland is only asking for justice. It could be said that Poland is demanding justice. We are a victim of World War II and the damage was not reimbursed in any way', she said.

And yet they consider that the amount of compensation can be estimated in the millions of euros.

And what did Germany make of all of that?

Germany's government clearly stated that the issue of reparations for damages Poland suffered during World War II had been settled politically and legally, and so it's considered to be closed. 'You can read about it in transcripts of the 2 August government briefing where this question was last raised,' said a representative of the Press Service. Furthermore, the German side stressed that in the early 1990s Warsaw received reparations from Germany in the form of tranches of 500 million deutschemarks, as well as, nearly 2 billion deutschemarks for Polish slave laborers, victims of Nazi horrible experiments and Polish-Jewish Holocaust survivors. Would Poland challenge the position of Germany and continue to shake it down? We'll found out soon enough. But certainly, payment alone is not enough for Poland. For instance, earlier it has become known that the ruling PiS Party is preparing a draft law on receiving war reparations from Russia, too. It has been initiative of a PiS MP, Stanislaw Pieta, who said that Warsaw should recover even more compensation payments from Moscow, namely, 'trillions of zlotys for USSR crimes'. He was supported by such member of Sejm as Malgorzata Gosiewska, who considered that 'Russians pillaged Polish industrial enterprises and stole works of art'. But the head of the Polish MFA, Witold Waszczykowski, has topped them all. He said that the Soviet Union together with Germany 'has contributed mightily' to the outbreak of the Second World War.

Russia did not take long to react to it. A Deputy Chairman of the State Duma, Irina Yarovaya, responded to Waszczykowski's allegations. She said, 'The chief of the Polish diplomatic service ended up with his tortuous cynicism in positions of the Third Reich ideologue, Joseph Goebbels, 'The bigger the lie, the more people will believe it'.

However, they never fail to remind Poland that in 1945 the Potsdam Conference adopted an agreement under which Poland received reparations from the share of the USSR that came from the eastern zone of Germany. But a few years later, the USSR and the Polish People's Republic completed an agreement which put an end to reparation payments from the German Democratic Republic, starting from 1954.

Such imprudent and absolutely unlawful behavior of Poles may easily spread to Ukraine. This is because Warsaw has repeatedly raised its claims against Kiev. In addition to the restitution of lands or payment of compensation for them to those Polish citizens whose ancestry owned the lands before Galicia's integration into the USSR, Poland's authorities lay claim to lands of Western Ukraine which is believed to be illegally annexed from Poland in 1939. The Polish Senator, Prof. Jan Zaryn said, 'Without Lviv – the city that always held true to Poland – there would be no the Polish people'. We would be lying if we say that it will be enough for Poland to get only Lviv. Warsaw needs the whole of Galicia and Volyn, which is Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, Volyn and Rivne provinces of Ukraine. While until recently their claims have not moved beyond words, then now there are serious reasons to be concerned. And further actions of Poland towards Ukraine will be heavily dependent on European and US reaction to the Polish claims against Germany. If international organizations and courts do not reject these claims, it will create a serious precedent, which may have irreversible consequences in future.

Although, many of experts calm down the public, identifying the Polish statements just as an attempt to get attention from the EU, namely, such EU main member as Germany.
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