Leader of ruling party Jaroslaw Kaczynski gestures during a Law and Justice party congress in Przysucha, Poland July 1, 2017. Photo: Agencja Gazeta/Slawomir KaminskI via REUTERS/File Photo
Demanding reparations from Germany for its actions in Poland during World War Two is a matter of honor for Warsaw, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of Polish ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, said on Saturday.
The issue of reparations, revived by Poland’s eurosceptic PiS after decades of improving relations with Germany, could escalate tensions between the two European Union members.
In September Polish parliamentary legal experts ruled that Warsaw has the right to demand reparations from Germany, although Poland’s foreign minister indicated that no immediate claim would be made.
“The French were paid, Jews were paid, many other nations were paid for the losses they suffered during World War Two. Poles were not,” Kaczynski said.
“It is not only about material funds. It is about our status, our honor ... And this is not theater. This is our demand, a totally serious demand,” added Kaczynski, Poland’s de facto leader.
The PiS government, deeply distrustful of Germany, has raised calls for wartime compensation in recent months but Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski has said further analysis was needed before any claims were lodged.
Six million Poles, including three million Polish Jews, were killed during the war, and the capital Warsaw was razed to the ground in 1944 after a failed uprising in which 200,000 civilians died.