INTERVIEW. Victims of German aggression will pay reparations for the damage done by Germany? Patryk Jaki for AWPE: It can build such a precedent

Deputy Minister of Justice Sebastian Kaleta said that Italians received EUR 55 million from the Italian Recovery Fund to pay off Germany’s claims against its citizens. This means that all EU citizens, including Poles, will pay for Italian claims against Germany, right?

Patryk Jaki (MEP): Yes.

On what legal basis was this done?

The Italians filed a lawsuit with the CJEU against another ruling that forbade state-to-state suing for damages, war reparations, etc. Due to a group of citizens and their families who were injured during World War II demanding compensation, the Italians submitted a motion that if the state cannot claim compensation, then individual citizens could do it. Since this issue was still burning under the previous, left-wing government, and the Draghi government did not want to conflict with the Germans, that’s why he thought that in that case let Italy take it upon himself and write it in the Recovery Fund. Only the Recovery Fund mechanism, as you rightly pointed out, is, firstly, a mechanism that is co-financed by all states, and secondly, there is a great moral doubt here, why people who were victims should pay for the victims, but should pay for the state that 1943 was an ally of Hitler. The Poles were not Hitler’s ally, they did not receive the money, and so what? You are right that this case looks strange, but the Italians negotiated it in their Recovery Fund.

In what light does this put the whole issue of reparations from Germany to Poland?

This shows above all that Germans are hypocrites. It’s such a country. You can see that nothing has changed here, because they brazenly tell us that they will not pay anything, and at the same time it is known that they have the greatest influence on European institutions and agree to pay Italy, which – let us recall again – was one of the Hitler’s most important allies. And those brazen explanations of German journalists that Poles did not help Jews enough… I would like to remind you that compensation is not for helping Jews, because the Germans killed them, but above all for the fact that the Germans killed Polish citizens, destroyed our country and stole so that to this day these elements of this theft accumulate at auctions in Germany. They don’t want to give it back to us, like a typical thief you grab by the hand and he claims it’s not his hand.

Isn’t the fact we are talking about de facto another stage of the war with Poland, despite earlier conciliation declarations by some EU officials?

Maybe the very issue of this Italian Recovery Fund is not. On the other hand, the very issue of Recovery Fund and how they behave towards us, being aware of the huge costs that Poles are incurring – also related to helping Ukrainians – and saving the honor of the whole of Europe in connection with the conduct of Germany and France since the beginning of this war, has a double moral dimension. This shows how degenerate people, whose faces are full of values, the rule of law and freedom, are. Meanwhile, it is Poles who participate most in the defense of these values, and yet it is them who are blocked with this money, while others are very willingly paid, including those whose hands are dirty from cooperation with Putin.

In your opinion, is there any chance for Germany to finally settle accounts with Poland and other countries for German crimes and looting committed on their territory?

In my opinion, of course, there is a chance for it, but it is a long process that we cannot let go of. There must be years of pressure here, the work of all citizens, explaining, not letting go of this topic. Because if we do not let it go on the international arena, sooner or later Germany will have to deal with it somehow. For now, they will take us on hold, hoping that, first of all, their pillars will rule in Poland and this topic will naturally be abandoned. They also count on us not being consistent here. Therefore, a lot depends on us in this matter and there is a chance in the long run.

Will not what the Italians did set a precedent for Germany when it comes to settling claims, for example, those owed to Poland or other countries that they have destroyed?

Theoretically, one could look at it in such a way that it could also be handled by other countries. From the moral point of view, you are right – it is not only morally double, but it can build such a precedent that the Germans will pay money for their crimes with the hands of all other victims, including Poles.

Interview by Anna Wiejak

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