Poland’s new estimate tops $850 billion by a ruling party lawmaker in 2019. The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party has repeated calls for compensation several times since taking power in 2015, but Poland has not formally claimed compensation.
“The amount that was provided was adopted using the most conservative and beleaguered methods, and it will be possible to increase it,” said Jaroslav Kaczynski, leader of the Law and Justice Organization, at a press conference.
The hostile attitude towards Germany, which the PiS often used to mobilize its audience, soured relations with Berlin. It intensified after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine amid criticism of Berlin’s reliance on Russian gas and its slowdown in helping Kyiv.
About 6 million Poles, including 3 million Polish Jews, were killed during the war and Warsaw was razed to the ground after the 1944 uprising in which about 200,000 civilians were killed.
The German government and foreign ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In 1953, the then communist rulers of Poland renounced all claims for war reparations under pressure from the Soviet Union, which wanted to free East Germany, also subordinate to the Soviet Union, from any obligations. PiS says the agreement is invalid because Poland has not been able to negotiate fair compensation.
Donald Tusk, leader of the Civic Platform, Poland’s largest opposition party, said on Thursday that Kaczynski’s announcement was “not about reparations”.
“It is about an internal political campaign to rebuild support for the ruling party,” he said.
PiS still leads in most opinion polls, but its supremacy on the civilian platform has shrunk in recent months amid criticism of its handling of rising inflation and an economic slowdown.
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