Poland is appealing to the United Nations for help in securing $1.4 trillion in war reparations from Germany, which describes the issue of reparations over its World War II invasion and occupation of the country as closed. Germany's latest response to Poland's request—issued last year following a five-year study on the issue—has further strained relations between Warsaw and Berlin. It described the issue as closed in response to a diplomatic note on Dec. 28, per the AP. "The German government does not intend to open negotiations on the subject," the communication stated, according to Poland's Foreign Ministry.
"This answer, to sum it up, shows an absolutely disrespectful attitude towards Poland and Poles," Poland's Deputy Foreign Minister Arkadiusz Mularczyk says, per Reuters. Germany has repeatedly rebuffed Poland, saying its neighbor waived further reparations in a 1953 agreement. Poland—which suffered the deaths of six million citizens and the razing of Warsaw during the 1939-45 war—agreed to relinquish claims to reparations "under pressure from the Soviet Union, which wanted to free East Germany, also a Soviet satellite, from any liabilities," per Reuters. Poland's ruling nationalist Law and Justice party argues the deal is void since Poland couldn't negotiate fairly.
"Germany does not pursue a friendly policy towards Poland; they want to build their sphere of influence here and treat Poland as a vassal state," said Mularczyk. Asked about further discussions, he said they would continue "through international organizations," per Reuters. The Foreign Ministry has reached out to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres specifically, seeking "cooperation and support," per the AP. Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek, Poland's minister for European relations, acknowledges it could take "years" or even "generations" for a deal to be reached. (Read more reparations stories.)