Senior Polish officials have announced plans to expand their campaign for World War II reparations from Germany, seeking support from Greece and other European countries. Poland had formally demanded $1.3 trillion in compensation last year, a sum nearly equal to its annual gross domestic product. Greece, on the other hand, is seeking over $300 billion for damages inflicted during the Nazi German occupation.
While Germany argues that damage claims were settled after the war, Deputy Polish Foreign Minister Arkadiusz Mularczyk stated on Tuesday that Poland would collaborate with other countries that suffered under Nazi occupation to seek justice. Mularczyk emphasized that individual countries had been unsuccessful in finding justice for the victims and that collective efforts were needed.
Mularczyk spoke at a conference on reparations held in Athens, co-organized by the Polish Foreign Ministry. He highlighted the indisputable harm and losses suffered, including the deaths of 5.2 million Poles, a post-war population decrease of 11.4 million people, and the use of 2.1 million Polish citizens as slave labor.
Former Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, a law professor, noted that Greece’s claims were revived after Germany’s reunification in 1990. He argued that the post-war division of Germany had been cited as a reason to limit compensation. While acknowledging Germany’s apologies and participation in commemorative events, Pavlopoulos asserted that these actions did not negate the claims for compensation.
Greece officially renewed its claims in 2019 under a previous left-wing government. The subsequent conservative administration, while not publicly pressing Berlin, maintained that the issue remained unresolved.
The conference was attended by mayors and representatives from Greek towns where civilian massacres were carried out by Nazi occupiers as reprisals to armed resistance. These towns hold commemorative events annually to remember the victims.
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