Poland’s new government continues to pursue $1.3 trillion in WWII-era reparations from Germany

Radosław Sikorski and Annalena Baerbock met in Berlin on Tuesday to discuss bilateral ties and continued Western support for Ukraine

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: dorzeczy.pl
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, left, and Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski enter the joint press conference at the Foreign Ministry in Berlin, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Among the topics of the meeting of the foreign ministers of Poland and Germany, Radosław Sikorski and Annalena Baerbock, were Polish-German relations, the war in Ukraine, and the situation in the Middle East.

The foreign ministers also discussed reinvigorating trilateral cooperation in the Weimar Triangle format, which brings together Poland, Germany and France. Both ministers agreed that relations “need to be improved,” with Sikorski arguing that there is a need to restore the Polish-German partnership. The Polish foreign minister said that the two countries would now seek to explore common ground for joint initiatives.

Sikorski noted that the two countries “won’t always agree” and some issues will take time to solve, but he said that this would be done “without confrontational rhetoric.”

The Polish foreign minister also said that one of the issues he was raising was the question of joint remembrance of the Second World War and the German proposal to commemorate Polish victims and war losses. He added that he was asking the German government “to think creatively” about addressing the issue of compensating for Poland’s war losses. 

Poland’s reparations claim against Germany is based on a report on war losses released on Sept. 1, 2022, and composed by a team of experts who quantified all the damage. According to the coordinator of the report and former deputy foreign minister in the last conservative PiS government, Arkadiusz Mularczyk, the reparations due to Poland amount to close to $1.3 trillion.

The German government adopted a stance in January 2023 that the reparations issue had been closed back in the 1950s, but this response was not acceptable to Poland. Before Sikorski made his trip to Berlin, Mularczyk appealed to him to raise the reparations issues with his host. 

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