German FM says war reparations issue closed

Albert Zawada/PAP

Germany's foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, has said the matter of Poland's World War Two reparations claim is closed from Berlin's point of view.

On Monday, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau signed an official diplomatic note outlining the country's demands for reparations from Germany for the damage caused by the Second World War.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Rau on Tuesday, following bilateral talks in Warsaw, Baerbock said: "The issue of war reparations from the point of view of the federal government is a closed issue; the good news is that we have a common future in our EU, that is not only our life insurance, especially in these times, but is also our instrument for the future."

The German foreign minister said her country felt its historical responsibility "without any limits."

"Our eternal task remains reminding people about the suffering inflicted by Germany on millions of Poles," she said, adding that it had been "an entirely different suffering" than Germany had inflicted on other countries as it involved a "campaign of oppression, Germanisation, pure devastation."

Rau said that Polish society "still feels the trauma of the result of the German invasion in 1939, the German occupation and their negative consequences for social capital, economic potential and national heritage," which he said had "limited and halted the possibilities for further development and the deepening of Polish-German relations," adding that it was "high time we dealt with this problem."