Poland sends reparation note to Germany for WWII damage

Rau said Germany's payment of the reparations would "allow the building of Polish-German relations upon justice and truth." Radek Pietruszka/PAP

The Polish foreign minister has signed an official diplomatic note outlining the country's demands for reparations from Germany for the damage caused by the Second World War.

The note, which was signed by Zbigniew Rau on Monday and will be sent to Germany, is the latest twist in Polish efforts to get money out of its neighbour for the massive levels of destruction Poland endured during the war.

On September 1, the Polish government presented a report which put its human and material war losses at EUR 1.3 trillion.

"The diplomatic note I have just signed will be conveyed to the Foreign Ministry of the German Federal Republic," said Rau. "It expresses the Polish foreign minister's belief that both sides should undertake immediate steps towards the lasting, comprehensive and final legal and material regulation of the effects of the German aggression and occupation of 1939-45."

Rau said Germany's payment of the reparations would "allow the building of Polish-German relations upon justice and truth."

Later on Monday, the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote in a Facebook post that the diplomatic note was "another important step towards justice and putting our common past in order".

According to him, Germans not only devastated Poland and murdered millions of Polish citizens, but with their aggression hindered the development of Poland for many years.

"The scale of the German damage done in Poland during World War II, for which our country has never received adequate compensation is often underestimated. Reparations are compensation for German crimes committed against the Polish nation that must never be forgotten," the post read.

Morawiecki also wrote he was convinced that Poland would receive reparations from Germany, although it would not happen soon, and the road to obtain them would be long and bumpy. He added that this process may be spread over generations, in particular the repayment of individual instalments, because, as he admitted, the amount is indeed enormous.

The German government has said that the reparation issue is closed owing to Poland apparently renouncing war reparations in 1953.