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Germany says issue of WWII reparations for Poland ‘closed’

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Tuesday the topic of reparations for the wartime occupation of Poland is “closed from the perspective of the German government.”

Speaking in Warsaw at a joint press conference with her Polish counterpart Zbigniew Rau, Baerbock said, however, that Germany stands by its historical responsibilities “without ifs and buts.”

A day earlier, Rau formalized claims that Poland’s ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party had pushed for years. He signed a diplomatic note to Berlin in order to initiate a “permanent, comprehensive and final legal and material settlement of the consequences of German aggression and occupation from 1939 to 1945.”

Baerbock said during the press conference that she had discussed the request with Rau and had reiterated the German government’s long-standing position that the matter is settled.

However, Rau said that the “negative consequences of the German occupation” inhibit “the possibilities of further developing and deepening Polish-German relations.”

The Polish government has recently pushed the issue. On September 1 — the 83rd anniversary of Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland — a parliamentary commission in Warsaw presented a report estimating the damages of the German occupation at more than 6.2 trillion złoty (€1.3 trillion).

“The Germans invaded Poland and did great damage to us,” Jarosław Kaczyński, the head of PiS, said that day: “I know that we are embarking on a path that will take a long time and will not be easy. We do not promise quick successes.”

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