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Prior to its official release, the head of the team that prepared the report, MP Arkadiusz Mularczyk, showcased the three-volume document on Twitter. Its cover shows the burning clock tower of the Royal Castle after a German air raid in September 1939.
In a radio interview, Mr. Mularczyk stated that the estimates presented in the report are "not taken out of thin air, but were based on very specific calculations", which consider losses of demographic, proprietary, and economic nature.
The ceremonial presentation of the report began with a minute of silence dedicated to the victims of World War II, a commemoration of the village of Mnichów in southern Poland that was burned to the ground in 1943, and the screening of a film with archival footage from September 1939.
"A Report on the Losses Suffered by Poland as a Result of German Aggression" was announced by Krzysztof Ziemiec - a journalist working for the state television network, who reminded those gathered at the ceremony that they are standing in a castle that has been demolished during World War II, and in a city demolished four times during the war. He began by introducing the guests – the chairman of the ruling Law and Justice party, the Speaker of the Parliament, Deputy Speakers, and the Prime Minister. He also pointed out the presence of "representatives of foreign media".
As we learn from the introductory video, "to this day, the losses Poland suffered during WWII have not been addressed scientifically, and the subject of war reparations is still a significant topic for Polish people".
The host of the ceremony added that the release of the report would not have been made possible without the support of Jarosław Kaczyński, who long emphasized that Poland has a full right to claim the reparations.
Jarosław Kaczyński said that the act of presenting the report is simultaneously meant to send a signal regarding Poland’s international relations, especially its relations with Germany. The goal is to receive reparations. He later specified that a decision has been made to negotiate with Germany on that matter.
- Many countries received reparations, but Poland has not, and this left a gap. This is the way things are in international relations. If a state causes damage and loses the war, it must make up for it- said the chairman of the Law and Justice party.
He stated that failing to pursue reparations comes from "an inferiority complex that leads to enslavement".
- The Germans invaded Poland and did incredible damage to us. The effects of their very cruel occupation continue to this day- Kaczyński said, adding that Germany has never really answered for its crimes against Poland.
He stated that the value of damages suffered by Poland has been estimated at €1.3 trillion - Considering that such reparations take decades to pay, this is a sum that the German economy can bear. A very important part of this sum is the compensation for the deaths of 5.2 million citizens.
The Law and Justice party chairman said that victims of Russian atrocities were not included in this figure. As he pointed out, a large percentage were Poles of Jewish descent, but Poland could not "apply a racist criterion". Kaczyński expressed his hope that Israel would also be interested in the matter.
The Speaker of the Parliament Elżbieta Witek recalled that the last session of the Polish parliament in 1939 was held on September 2, when bombs were already falling on Warsaw, and at that time the electoral law was changed so that deputies and senators could join the army without relinquishing their seats. She said there were many places of execution in Warsaw, but it was in the parliamentary gardens where the first executions of the Polish intelligentsia took place.
According to Witek, German people are not really aware of what had happened in Poland during the war, that is why "the horrible images of World War II must also speak to the Germans".
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki recalled the words of Adolf Hitler - "the aim of our attack is not some line; it is the annihilation of our enemy - this was the goal of the Third German Reich". And the whole Reich got down to it with the support of ordinary German citizens.
He pointed out that Generalplan Ost involved the extermination of Poles, and those who were left alive were to be enslaved. He listed German scholars, military officers, and officials who committed terrible crimes, but who later still held office and were held in high esteem after the war. He spoke of "incredible insolence on the part of the Germans" who pointed to Poles as accomplices in World War II.
Morawiecki concluded by saying that a failure to punish the criminal, and failure to bear responsibility, encourages another crime.
- German society bears collective responsibility for World War II, the entire German nation does- he said. Finally, he noted that the report and reparations "can serve true Polish-German reconciliation". -As long as the Germans understand its mental, metaphysical, and human meaning- he added.
Head of the team responsible for preparing the report, Law and Justice party MP Arkadiusz Mularczyk, said that 33 specialists from various scientific fields worked on the document. As he stated, "the German state has so far not undertaken actions meant to pay for the consequences of World War II". He recalled that no other report had been produced since 1947, and pointed out that the report is an open book that should be supplemented.
According to Mr. Mularczyk’s calculations, as a result of WWII, Poland lost 78,000 square kilometers of land and 11.2 million citizens (some of them ended up in the USSR). Some 2.1 million Polish citizens were sent to work in Germany, their labor amounted to 4 million 881,000 man-hours. 196,000 Polish children were kidnapped (30,000 were recovered). 590,000 people became disabled. 100,000 members of the Polish intelligentsia were killed in operation AB. It took the Polish nation 33 years to rebuild its human potential to where it has been before the war.
Ultimately, Mr. Mularczyk estimated Poland's war losses at PLN 6 trillion 220 billion 609 million (some €1.3 trillion). These include human losses (PLN 4 trillion 300 billion), material losses (797 billion), and 492 billion in losses caused by the activities of the German bank of issue. According to Mr. Mularczyk's team, losses in GDP led to a halving of Poland’s potential wealth-generating.
Mularczyk recalled that to this day Germany has not concluded a peace treaty with Poland. And all German legislation is geared, he said, toward not settling post-WWII obligations. In his view, the issue of reparations should be settled in a Polish-German bilateral agreement.
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