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Poland requests $1.3 trillion in World War II reparations from Germany

Poland on Thursday announced a request for roughly $1.3 trillion in reparations from Germany for the damage wrought during World War II and the Nazi invasion, The Associated Press reports.

Poland's top politician Jaroslaw Kaczynski unveiled the demand following the aptly-timed release of a report investigating the Polish toll of Nazi occupation. Sept. 1, 2022 marks 83 years since the second world war began.

"We not only prepared the report but we have also taken the decision as to the further steps," Kaczynski said Thursday. "We will turn to Germany to open negotiations," which will surely be difficult but "one day will bring success." 

Germany, in turn, has argued that it's already paid its debts to East Bloc nations, and that "the question of reparations is concluded," the German Foreign Ministry said Thursday. 

"Poland long ago, in 1953, waived further reparations and has repeatedly confirmed this waiver," the ministry told AP in an emailed response. "This is a significant basis for today's European order. Germany stands by its responsibility for World War II politically and morally."

The issue of reparations and the resulting report have "created bilateral tensions" between Germany and Poland, the latter of which believes it was never fairly compensated for the German-caused damage, AP writes. The Polish government also rejects the aforementioned 1953 waiver, which was made by "the country's then-communist leaders," who, "under pressure from the Soviet Union," agreed "not to make any further claims on Germany," AP writes.