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Poland officially demands $1.3 trillion in World War II damages from Germany

A symbolic grave in the Bialucki Forest near Ilowo on July 13, 2022 the site where the mass grave of about 8,000 Nazi victims from the nearby Soldau concentration camp in Dzialdowo was unearthed at the beginning of July 2022. (JANEK SKARZYNSKI / AFP)
A symbolic grave in the Bialucki Forest near Ilowo on July 13, 2022 the site where the mass grave of about 8,000 Nazi victims from the nearby Soldau concentration camp in Dzialdowo was unearthed at the beginning of July 2022. (JANEK SKARZYNSKI / AFP)

Poland’s foreign minister signs an official note to Germany requesting the payment of some $1.3 trillion in reparations for the damage incurred by occupying Nazi Germans during World War II.

Zbigniew Rau says the note will be handed to Germany’s Foreign Ministry. The signing comes on the eve of Rau’s meeting in Warsaw with Germany Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who is attending a security conference.

Rau says the note expresses his view that the two sides should take action “without delay” to address the effects of Germany’s 1939-45 occupation in a “lasting and complex, legally binding as well as material way.”

The Times of Israel previously reported that Poland’s reparations demand includes cases of Jews killed by Poles during the Holocaust. Included in the list of atrocities are villages that were the sites of Polish pogroms against Jews — perhaps most infamously the village of Jedwabne, where over 300 Jews were burned alive by ethnic Poles — as well as other Jewish deaths that can be tied to Polish citizens.

The author of the report setting out the demand justified it by arguing that Poland’s Nazi and other occupiers should have prevented those killings. “Due to Germany’s aggression, the Third Reich & the USSR occupied Polish lands. International conventions state occupiers are responsible for the population’s safety, lives & property. Jedwabne was under USSR & Third Reich occupation, killing the citizens of the Second Republic,” wrote Arkadiusz Mularczyk in a tweet.

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