In the early morning hours of September 1, 1939, the Polish town of Wielun was bombed by the German Air Force. On Sunday, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his Polish colleague Andrzej Duda will commemorate the victims of the German attack. The meeting is overshadowed by a continuing discussion: In an interview with the "Bild" Duda has reaffirmed his country's demands for German reparations payments.
Such compensation is "a matter of responsibility and morality," Duda said. "The war we are talking about today has caused tremendous damage in Poland." The Polish Parliament will "submit an invoice" for this. In 2017, a parliamentary commission was set up in Poland on the subject, which intends to present its final report shortly.
Last week, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (PiS) had already made similar statements. Germany had destroyed at least 1000 Polish villages completely, he told the spark media group. A few weeks ago, Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz complained that there had been "a lack of fundamental fairness" in the compensation of the countries attacked by Germany. "Poland has been discriminated against in this process," he said.
"Brutally wiped out by Hitler's race mania!"
Duda reminded in the "Bild" interview of the devastating consequences of the war for Poland. "Nearly six million Polish citizens were murdered, our cities in ruins, our capital completely destroyed," said the president. "The majority were innocent civilians, murdered in raids, murders, in ghettos and concentration camps We do not forget that: About half of the Polish victims, three million, were Jews, brutally wiped out by Hitler's race mania!"
Nevertheless, Duda emphasized the good relationship between Poland and Germany, which today is "a role model for the peoples of this world". "We have never forgotten history, but Germany and Poland have reconciled themselves, altogether."
On Thursday, the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis had demanded from Germany talks about reparations.