Poland's report on WWII damages readied for war anniversary

May 14, 2019 - 11:59 am
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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A study commissioned by the Polish government to assess the cost of Nazi Germany's occupation will be published on the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II, on Sept. 1, its leader said Tuesday.

Poland's right-wing government has called on experts to estimate the human and material losses resulting from Germany's 6-year occupation, with an intention of seeking reparations. Germany says the matter is closed as Poland renounced reparations in 1953, but Warsaw argues that decision is invalid as it was made when the country was under the control of the Moscow-backed communists.

The Polish authorities also face demands from Holocaust survivors and their descendants who say they should get compensation for property seized by the communists after the war. However, the government argues that the country suffered so much during World War II that it should receive compensation rather than pay any.

At a meeting Tuesday, Konrad Wnek, a professor with the Jagiellonian University, said around 5.2 million Polish citizens died as a direct result of the German occupation, which has had repercussions through ensuing generations by limiting the country's population and economic output. Others talked about losses incurred across the economy, culture and art. The final report is to include a financial estimate.

The head of the study, lawmaker Arkadiusz Mularczyk, said it took Poland until the year 2000 to reach the pre-war population of some 35 million.

Mularczyk said the date of the publication —also in English — coincides with a gathering of international leaders in Poland for the anniversary of the start of World War II.

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