Poles look to charge Germans $850 billion to mark 80 years since Nazi invasion

Lawmaker heading parliamentary team on potential war reparations says committee’s work should be done by September 1, the anniversary of the start of World War II

The remains of the Warsaw ghetto, which the German SS dynamited to the ground in 1945 after slaughtering some 60,000 Jews. (AP Photo)
The remains of the Warsaw ghetto, which the German SS dynamited to the ground in 1945 after slaughtering some 60,000 Jews. (AP Photo)

A Polish lawmaker said Friday that a committee examining potential German reparations to Poland hoped to complete its report by September 1, the 80th anniversary of the Nazi invasion, and would likely demand up to $850 billion for the damage inflicted during World War II.

Arkadiusz Mularczyk, who is leading a team in the parliament that is assessing potential reparations to Poland, told the Reuters news agency that he hoped the committee could present its report on September 1, 2019.

Mularczyk repeated his claim that the amount could total $850 billion.

“Poland lost not only millions of its citizens but it was also destroyed in an unusually brutal way,” he told Reuters.

Adolf Hitler, front, salutes parading troops of the German Wehrmacht in Warsaw, Poland, on Oct. 5, 1939 after the German invasion. Behind Hitler are seen, from left to right: Army Commander in Chief, Colonel General Walther von Brauchitsch, new commandant of Warsaw, Lieutenant General Friedrich von Cochenhausen, Colonel General Gerd von Rundstedt, Colonel General Wilhelm Keitel. (AP Photo)

Germany killed some 6 million Polish citizens, including 3 million Jews, and caused great material losses during its nearly six-year occupation of Poland. The invasion marked the start of World War II.

The capital city of Warsaw was almost completely razed following the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.

The Warsaw Ghetto uprising broke out April 19, 1943, when about 750 young Jewish fighters armed with just pistols and fuel bottles attacked a much larger and heavily armed German force that was “liquidating” the ghetto, meaning sending its inhabitants to the Treblinka death camp.

“We are talking about very large, but justified amounts of compensation for war crimes, for destroyed cities, villages and the lost demographic potential of our country,” Mularczyk said on Polsat News, a private broadcaster in March, last year.

Poland’s ruling conservative nationalist Law and Justice party said the nation deserves compensation for its losses and set up a team of lawmakers under Mularczyk’s leadership to estimate how much is due.

Polish MP Arkadiusz Mularczyk, file (YouTube screenshot)

To date, Poland has not made an official demand. Germany has repeatedly said there is no legal basis for Poland’s reparation claims because the matter was settled in a 1953 agreement.

Poland’s current authorities have argued the 1953 decision is invalid because it was dictated by Moscow when Poland was a satellite of the Soviet Union.

Since then, Germany has paid some compensation to individual Poles who were forced laborers or victims of German pseudo-medical experiments during the Nazis’ wartime occupation.

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