Poland calls for return of important war crimes documents

Arkadiusz Mularczyk of the Law and Justice party (PiS), has asked German authorities to return important war crimes documents. Leszek Szymański / PAP

Poland has asked Germany to return tens of thousands of documents relating to war crimes committed by the Nazis and the rescue of Jews by Poles.

The Polish Parliamentary Committee, headed by legislator Arkadiusz Mularczyk of the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), has asked German authorities to return 62,937 documents sent by the Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes and the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) in Poland between 1961 and 1999.

The documents contain extensive information about war crimes committed by Nazi Germany, including testimonies of Holocaust survivors, reports of exhumations, photographs, documents and death certificates. Mularczyk also asked the IPN to explain why and how the documents were sent to Germany.

Mularczyk said that while trying to determine the amount of compensation Poland should receive from Germany for damages caused to the country during the Nazi occupation, committee members discovered that for 50 years the Main Commission for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in Poland and then the Institute of National Remembrance sent tens of thousands of original documents to the Central Office of the Judicial Administration in Ludwigsburg, which conducts investigations of war crimes committed by the Nazis.

Mularczyk and his staff believe that the documents also contain many testimonies about cases in which Jews were saved by their Polish neighbours. The MP said that Poland is entitled to receive the documents back, and that these are also important testimonies of Poles saving Jews.

“Poland should take action to recover these documents, and those who have made decisions on their transfer should, if possible, bear legal or political responsibility. These documents were sent for the purpose of prosecuting German criminals and if these proceedings were terminated and they were most frequently discontinued, they should be returned to the owner" said Mularczyk in an interview with PAP.