Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has rejected demands from Poland for reparations for the destruction by German troops in the Second World War. The right way to deal with the past is not to regard it as completed, "but as a shared responsibility for a better future," Steinmeier told the daily Corriere della Sera before his state visit to Italy. "I hope that we can continue along this path with Poland, without losing ourselves in a backward debate about reparations".
The Polish government had complained in mid-August that Poland had been significantly disadvantaged in the German reparations payments. In an interview with the German Press Agency, Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said that "compensation for the countries attacked by Germany was a lack of fundamental fairness".
Steinmeier would wish very much, and so have always had his conversations in Poland, that the path of reconciliation, the generations before had begun laboriously and with pain, go on. "For us Germans, this means not forgetting the past, confessing the guilt and understanding the responsibility." Steinmeier said that Germany, like Italy and Poland, "not only wants to look back into the past", but also wants to work on the common future of both states in good neighborhood, above all for a common European future. "And actually we had come a long way on this way".
Poland is discriminated against in reparation payments
The national-conservative ruling party PiS called for compensation from Germany in its program for the elections in Poland on 13 October. "The damage incurred during the Second World War, have not been redeemed until today," it says. In a survey published a few days ago, 58 percent of respondents had argued that Germany should pay for such redress. 18 percent did not consider reparations necessary, another 24 percent of respondents had no opinion.
In World War II, Poland had more deaths than any other country in terms of total population. Five to six million Poles were killed - about every sixth. The degree of destruction caused by the Nazi extermination warfare was also comparatively high. The capital city of Warsaw was almost completely razed to the ground before the withdrawal of the Wehrmacht. According to earlier Polish calculations, the damage caused by Germany war damage amount to about 800 billion euros.
Germany considers the topic legally and politically conclusive with the 1990 Two-plus-Four Treaty on the Foreign Policy Consequences of German Unity. An opinion of the Scientific Service of the Bundestag recently came to the conclusion that Poland is no longer entitled to any compensation. Among other things, this is justified by the fact that Poland waived 1953 on reparations. Poland, on the other hand, argues that this statement was made under Soviet pressure and unconstitutional.