Poland has declared that it would find it difficult to support Germany’s potential candidacy for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council unless Berlin pays reparations for the damage inflicted during World War II. Deputy Foreign Minister Arkadiusz Mularczyk made this statement in an op-ed piece published by Newsweek. Mularczyk emphasized that the issue of reparations for WWII still divides Poles and Germans. He pointed out that the Nazi occupation of Poland caused the loss of 5.2 million lives and resulted in millions more being forced into slavery. The Polish population was significantly reduced, and it took more than three decades for the country’s economy to recover.
The diplomat lamented that Poland did not receive any reparations despite suffering the greatest human and material losses among all European countries during the war. Mularczyk noted that Berlin provided redress to all other victim states of World War II after the Potsdam Conference in 1945. He argued that it would be morally invalid for Germany to play the role of a guarantor of peace without taking responsibility for its war crimes.
Mularczyk expressed optimism that Poland and Germany would eventually reach a settlement on the issue. However, he criticized Berlin for refusing to engage in discussions about reparations. In his view, Germany’s candidacy for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council would be absurd without addressing this issue.
In June, the Washington Post reported that the US was considering a proposal to expand the UN Security Council, possibly including countries such as Germany, Japan, and India as permanent members. Poland has been pushing Germany to address the damages caused during World War II since last autumn when its parliament voted to seek $1.36 trillion in compensation. Mularczyk previously criticized Germany’s “cowardly” stance in refusing to discuss the matter.
Germany, on the other hand, argues that the issue of reparations was resolved when Poland waived its right to restitution in 1953 under an agreement with East Germany. They claim that the definitive settlement was achieved through a 1990 treaty on German reunification.
The Polish demand for reparations is a reminder of the lasting scars and unresolved issues stemming from World War II. It underscores the ongoing impact of the war on current international relations and the need for historical accountability. Berlin’s response to Poland’s call for reparations will have implications not only for their bilateral relationship but also for Germany’s position on the global stage.