World

Poland marks WWII anniversary with Nazi damage report

Warsaw, Poland — Poland is set to release a long-awaited report on Thursday on the country’s costs during the years of Nazi occupation as it marks 83 years since the Second World War began.

Poland’s right-wing government argues that the country that was the first victim of the war has not been fully compensated by neighboring Germany, now one of its major partners in the European Union.

Top leaders including the head of the ruling party Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Poland’s main policymaker, and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki will attend the announcement ceremony at the Royal Castle in Warsaw. This was the main point of national observation activities on the anniversary of the war that began September 1, 1939, with the Nazi bombing and invasion of Poland, during more than five years of brutal occupation.

A team of about 30 economists, historians and other experts has been working on the report since 2017. The issue has created bilateral tensions.

The war is “one of the most terrible tragedies in our history,” President Andrzej Duda said during early morning inspections on the Westerplatte peninsula near Gdansk, one of the first to be attacked in Nazi invasion.

“Not only because it has robbed us of our freedom, not only because it has taken our country, but also because this war means millions of Poles are victims and losses. cannot make up for our homeland and our nation,” Duda said.

In Germany, the government official for German-Polish cooperation, Dietmar Nietan, said in a statement that September 1 “remains a day of guilt and shame for Germany, reminding us over and over again. time and again do not forget the crimes committed by Germany”. was “the darkest chapter in our history” and still affects bilateral relations.

The reconciliation offered by those in Poland is “the basis for us to be able to look forward to the future together in a united Europe,” Nietan said.

The Polish government rejected the 1953 statement by the country’s communist leaders who, under Soviet pressure, agreed not to make any further claims to Germany.

Germany argued that reparations had been paid to the countries of the Eastern Bloc in the post-war years and demanded that the matter be closed.

An opposition lawmaker, Grzegorz Schetyna, said the report was just a “game in domestic politics” and insisted Poland needed to build a good relationship with Berlin.

About 6 million Polish citizens, including 3 million Jews, were killed in the war and the country’s industries, infrastructure and culture suffered enormous losses.

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Berlin-based AP writer Frank Jordans contributed.

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