Poland: can Tusk waive reparations?

Following the resumption of the German-Polish government consultations last week, the debate in Poland about reparation claims against Berlin has reignited. The fact that Prime Minister Donald Tusk has not put such demands on the agenda is being interpreted as a renunciation of the claims, causing outrage not just among his opponents. The national press also seizes on the topic.

Open/close all quotes
Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Don't expect too much

Gazeta Wyborcza calls for realism:

“People are clamouring for reparations from the Germans, trillions of euros if possible. ... Reason dictates otherwise however: demanding reparations was pointless from the outset, Poland formally renounced them in 1953. ... Instead, we could demand compensation for the victims of the Second World War ... The plan seemed good. But we made the mistake of getting our hopes up too high. Prior to Scholz's arrival in Warsaw, there were rumours in the media that the chancellor would announce specific details about compensation for Poles who were victims of the Nazis and who are still alive. But Scholz only said that he would 'try' to settle the matter.”

Interia (PL) /

Warsaw must stick to its guns

Poland's renunciation of war reparations in 1953 has no validity, Interia argues:

“It was forced by the Soviet authorities, and Poland was not a sovereign state at that time. Moreover, the renunciation was supposed to be a gesture of friendship towards the GDR and only concerned that country, not the Federal Republic of Germany. ... Today's resolution of the issue of reparations by the Polish side, i.e. the de facto renunciation of reparations in exchange for vague promises of military aid or support from the German arms industry, is incompatible with the Polish raison d'état.”