Poland Demands Reparations from Germany

      The November/December 2022 issue of The Barnes Review mentions that the Polish government has formally demanded $1.2 trillion from Germany “for the damages from the Nazi invasion and occupation during World War II.”[1] This article examines whether Poland deserves to receive such reparations from Germany.

The Soviet invasion and occupation of Poland was proclaimed as a “liberation campaign”. The term would consequently be utilized throughout Soviet history among official references and publications. On September 17, 2021, Russia’s Foreign Ministry marked the 82nd anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland with a Twitter post describing it as a “campaign of liberation”, stating that “… peoples of Western Belorussia and Western Ukraine greeted the Soviet soldiers with rejoicing”.
Reparations in 1945: Poland was given German territory after WWII but ceded territory to the USSR.

Polish Report

      Poland released a report in the year 2022 titled “The Report on the Losses Sustained by Poland as a Result of German Aggression and Occupation During the Second World War, 1939–1945.”[2] The Foreword to this report states that it “is Poland’s first and indispensable step on the road to obtain the reparations and due compensation which the Polish State has the right to claim for the devastation and injuries it suffered during the Second World War.”

      The Introduction to this report states that it “is the outcome of a project carried out by the Parliamentary Group for the Estimation of the Amount of Compensation due to Poland from Germany for Damage Caused during the Second World War. The Group was established by the Polish Sejm in its 8th term, on 29 September 2017, and consists of members of parliament and a team of experts.”[3]

      The Introduction further states:

      During the Second World War, Poland sustained the largest human and material losses of all European countries in relation to its total population and national assets. These losses were caused not only by German military operations, but above all, by a German policy of occupation motivated by the conviction of racial inferiority of the Polish population. The Germans exterminated people in the occupied territories in a deliberate and organized manner, and intensively exploited Polish society, both through forced labor and the willful devastation of property, including the complete destruction of Warsaw, Poland’s capital city, along with thousands of Polish cities, towns, and villages.[4]

      Of course, the authors state that “the present Report is undoubtedly an underestimate in all the areas it addresses, with its underlying principles rooted in the most conservative estimates possible.”[5] The authors make it clear that Poland deserves far more compensation from Germany than they are requesting in this report.

      The report also clearly states that German aggression was the sole cause of the war:

      Poland was the first country to resist the territorial and political demands of the Third Reich, refusing to grant concessions to Germany which would have resulted in the loss of independence on the international arena and subordination to Berlin. Hitler decided to resolve the conflict which he himself had caused, by military means, and on 1 September 1939 the Wehrmacht invaded Poland without declaring war.[6]

      Thus, German military aggression is the primary reason why Poles in this report state that Germany owes reparations to Poland. We will examine why Germany attacked Poland on September 1, 1939.

Why Germany Invaded Poland

      Polish Foreign Minister Józef Beck accepted an offer from Great Britain on March 30, 1939, that gave an unconditional unilateral guarantee of Poland’s independence. The British Empire agreed to go to war as an ally of Poland if the Poles decided that war was necessary. In words drafted by British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain spoke in the House of Commons on March 31, 1939:

      I now have to inform the House…that, in the event of any action which clearly threatened Polish independence and which the Polish government accordingly considered it vital to resist with their national forces, His Majesty’s Government would feel themselves bound at once to lend the Polish government all support in their power. They have given the Polish government an assurance to that effect.[7]

      Great Britain’s unprecedented “blank check” to Poland led to increasing violence against the German minority in Poland. The book Polish Acts of Atrocity against the German Minority in Poland answers the question why the Polish government allowed such atrocities to happen:

      The guarantee of assistance given Poland by the British government was the agent which lent impetus to Britain’s policy of encirclement. It was designed to exploit the problem of Danzig and the Corridor to begin a war, desired and long-prepared by England, for the annihilation of Greater Germany. In Warsaw, moderation was no longer considered necessary, and the opinion held was that matters could be safely brought to a head. England was backing this diabolical game, having guaranteed the “integrity” of the Polish state. The British assurance of assistance meant that Poland was to be the battering ram of Germany’s enemies. Henceforth, Poland neglected no form of provocation of Germany and, in its blindness, dreamt of “victorious battle at Berlin’s gates.” Had it not been for the encouragement of the English war clique, which was stiffening Poland’s attitude toward the Reich and whose promises led Warsaw to feel safe, the Polish government would hardly have let matters develop to the point where Polish soldiers and civilians would eventually interpret the slogan to extirpate all German influence as an incitement to the murder and bestial mutilation of human beings.”[8]   

      American historian David Hoggan wrote that German-Polish relationships became strained by the increasing harshness with which the Polish authorities handled its German minority. More than 1 million ethnic Germans resided in Poland, and these Germans were the principal victims of the German-Polish crisis in the coming weeks. The Germans in Poland were subjected to increasing doses of violence from the dominant Poles. Ultimately, many thousands of Germans in Poland paid for this crisis with their lives. They were among the first victims of Britain’s war policy against Germany.[9]

      On August 14, 1939, the Polish authorities in East Upper Silesia launched a campaign of mass arrests against the German minority. The Poles then proceeded to close and confiscate the remaining German businesses, clubs, and welfare installations. The arrested Germans were forced to march toward the interior of Poland in prisoner columns. The various German groups in Poland were frantic by this time, and they feared that the Poles would attempt the total extermination of the German minority in the event of war. Thousands of Germans were seeking to escape arrest by crossing the border into Germany. Some of the worst recent Polish atrocities included the mutilation of several Germans. The Poles were warned not to regard their German minority as helpless hostages who could be butchered with impunity.[10]

      William Lindsay White, an American journalist, recalled that there was no doubt among well-informed people that, by August 1939, horrible atrocities were being inflicted every day on the ethnic German minority of Poland. White said that a letter from the Polish government claiming that no persecution of the Germans in Poland was taking place had about as much validity as the civil liberties guaranteed by the 1936 constitution of the Soviet Union.[11]

      Donald Day, a well-known Chicago Tribune correspondent, reported on the atrocious treatment the Poles had meted out to the ethnic Germans in Poland:

      I traveled up to the Polish Corridor where the German authorities permitted me to interview the German refugees from many Polish cities and towns. The story was the same. Mass arrests and long marches along roads toward the interior of Poland. The railroads were crowded with troop movements. Those who fell by the wayside were shot. The Polish authorities seemed to have gone mad. I have been questioning people all my life, and I think I know how to make deductions from the exaggerated stories told by people who have passed through harrowing personal experiences. But even with generous allowance, the situation was plenty bad. To me the war seemed only a question of hours.[12]

      David Hoggan wrote that the leaders of the German minority in Poland repeatedly appealed to the Polish government for mercy during this period, but to no avail. More than 80,000 German refugees had been forced to leave Poland by August 20, 1939, and virtually all other ethnic Germans in Poland were clamoring to leave to escape Polish atrocities.[13]

       British Ambassador Nevile Henderson in Berlin was concentrating on obtaining recognition from Halifax of the cruel fate of the German minority in Poland. Henderson emphatically warned Halifax on August 24, 1939, that German complaints about the treatment of the German minority in Poland were fully supported by the facts. Henderson knew that the Germans were prepared to negotiate, and he stated to Halifax that war between Poland and Germany was inevitable unless negotiations were resumed between the two countries. Henderson pleaded with Halifax that it would be contrary to Polish interests to attempt a full military occupation of Danzig, and he added a scathingly effective denunciation of Polish policy. What Henderson failed to realize is that Halifax was pursuing war for its own sake as an instrument of policy. Halifax desired the complete destruction of Germany.[14]                     

      On August 25, 1939, Ambassador Henderson reported to Halifax the latest Polish atrocity at Bielitz, Upper Silesia. Henderson never relied on official German statements concerning these incidents, but instead based his reports on information he had received from neutral sources. The Poles continued to forcibly deport the Germans of that area, and compelled them to march into the interior of Poland. Eight Germans were murdered and many more were injured during one of these actions. Henderson deplored the failure of the British government to exercise restraint over the Polish authorities.[15]

      Hoggan wrote that Hitler was faced with a terrible dilemma. If Hitler did nothing, the Germans of Poland and Danzig would be abandoned to the cruelty and violence of a hostile Poland. If Hitler took effective action against the Poles, the British and French might declare war against Germany. Henderson feared that the Bielitz atrocity would be the final straw to prompt Hitler to invade Poland. Henderson, who strongly desired peace with Germany, deplored the failure of the British government to exercise restraint over the Polish authorities.[16]

      Dutch historian Louis de Jong wrote that, by mid-August 1939, the Poles proceeded to arrest hundreds of ethnic Germans. German printing shops and trade union offices were closed, and numerous house-to-house searches took place. Eight ethnic Germans who had been arrested in Upper Silesia were shot to death on August 24 during their transport to an internment camp.[17] 

      Hitler invaded Poland to end these atrocities against the German minority in Poland. American historian Harry Elmer Barnes agreed with Hoggan’s analysis. Barnes wrote:

      The primary responsibility for the outbreak of the German-Polish War was that of Poland and Britain, while for the transformation of the German-Polish conflict into a European War, Britain, guided by Halifax, was almost exclusively responsible.[18]

      The Germans in Poland continued to experience an atmosphere of terror in the early part of September 1939. Throughout the country the Germans had been told, “If war comes to Poland, you will all be hanged.” This prophecy was later fulfilled in many cases.[19]

      Hitler had planned to offer to restore sovereignty to the Czech state and to western Poland as part of a peace proposal with Great Britain and France. German Minister of Foreign Affairs Joachim von Ribbentrop informed Soviet leaders Josef Stalin and Vyacheslav Molotov of Hitler’s intention in a note on September 15, 1939. Stalin and Molotov, however, sought to stifle any action that might bring Germany and the Allies to the conference table. The Soviet leaders told Ribbentrop that they did not approve of the resurrection of the Polish state. Aware of Germany’s dependency on Soviet trade, Hitler abandoned his plan to reestablish Polish statehood.[20]

      Hitler’s invasion of Poland was forced by the Polish government’s intolerable treatment of its German population. Germany did not invade Poland for Lebensraum or any other malicious reason. Thus, the Polish government’s report claiming that “Hitler decided to resolve the conflict which he himself had caused” ignores the numerous provocations and violence against the German minority in Poland that led to Germany’s invasion of Poland.

Polish Expulsions of Germans

      The Polish report states that Poland has not received fair compensation from Germany:

      Following the Potsdam Conference, it was decided that Germany will “be compelled to compensate to the greatest possible extent for the loss and suffering that she has caused to the United Nations and for which the German people cannot escape responsibility.” This provision has not been implemented to this day in respect of Poland. After the Potsdam Conference, the Paris Peace Treaties were signed in 1946. It concerned reparations for the countries of Western and Eastern Europe, Asia, and Africa, but it did not include the Polish state.[21]

      The Polish report fails to mention that, at the conclusion of the Potsdam Conference on August 2, 1945, the Western allies agreed to transfer the German minority in Poland to Germany. The extreme suffering, death, and confiscation of property inflicted on ethnic Germans expelled from Poland after World War II is not mentioned in the Polish report. These German expellees have never been compensated for their suffering and loss of property.

      For more than three months prior to the Potsdam Agreement, the Polish government was expelling German citizens from what it now called the “Recovered Territories”—a reference to the fact that Poland once ruled Silesia and Pomerania under the Piast dynasty 600 years earlier. While the expulsions of the Germans were crude and disorganized, they were neither spontaneous nor accidental. Instead, the expulsions were carried out according to a premeditated strategy devised by the Polish government well before the end of the war.[22]

      Poland relied almost exclusively on the use of terror to transport its German minority across its frontier. Except in a very few instances, deportations as a result of mob actions did not cause the German expulsions. Rather, the so-called “wild expulsions” were carried out primarily by troops, police, and militia acting under orders and policies originating at the highest levels of the Polish government. So chaotic was the process of expelling the German minorities that many foreign observers, and even many people in the expelling countries themselves, mistook the violent events of the late spring and summer of 1945 as a spontaneous process from below. The expelling Polish government was more than happy to allow the myth of the “wild expulsions” to grow, since this myth enabled it to disclaim responsibility for the atrocities that were essential components of the expulsions.[23]                                                               

      The worst of the violence in Poland occurred between mid-June and mid-July 1945, particularly in the districts bordering the Oder-Neisse demarcation line, which were designated by the Polish Army Command as a military settlement area. The commander of the Polish Second Army expressed on June 24, 1945, the Polish position on the rapid transfer of the Germans:

      We are transferring the Germans out of Polish territory and we are acting thereby in accordance with directives from Moscow. We are behaving with the Germans as they behaved with us. Many already have forgotten how they treated our children, women, and old people. The Czechs knew how to act so that the Germans fled from their territory of their own volition.

      One must perform one’s tasks in such a harsh and decisive manner that the Germanic vermin do not hide in their houses but rather will flee from us of their own volition and then [once] in their own land will thank God that they were lucky enough to save their heads. We do not forget Germans always will be Germans.[24]

      The Germans who were forced to resettle were usually allowed to take only 20 kilograms of baggage with them, and were escorted to the border by squads of Polish soldiers. In late June 1945, at least 40,000 Germans were expelled within a few days. One commentator describes what this meant to the Germans living near the Oder-Neisse line:

      The evacuation of individual localities usually began in the early morning hours. The population, torn from their sleep, had scarcely 15 to 20 minutes to snatch the most necessary belongings, or else they were driven directly onto the street without any ceremony. Smaller localities and villages were evacuated at gunpoint by small numbers of soldiers, frequently only a squad or a platoon. Due to the proximity of the border, for the sake of simplicity the Germans were marched on foot to the nearest bridge over the river, driven over to the Soviet side [i.e., into the Soviet Occupation Zone of Germany] and there left to their own fate.[25]

      The German expellees were frequently robbed by members of the Polish militia and military units that carried out the expulsions. Food supply became an acute problem, and the uprooted Germans were often destitute and exhausted when they arrived in the Soviet Occupation Zone. The German expellees became easy prey for Soviet occupation troops, who often stole the few belongings the Germans had brought with them. Some Germans were beaten and raped, forced to perform humiliating acts, and some were randomly killed.[26]

      The cross-border traffic of Germans was not all in a single direction. At the end of the war, many hundreds of thousands of Germans from the Recovered Territories who had fled the Red Army’s advance to the west now returned to their homes. The returning Germans did not understand that there was not going to be a return home. The alarming spectacle of the population in the Recovered Territories of Poland increasing in the weeks after V-E Day was one of the factors spurring local authorities to quickly proceed with “wild expulsions” of the Germans. Polish soldiers and government officials used aggressive and often violent measures to prevent the unwanted Germans from returning to their homes.[27]

      However great the hazards and miseries of life on the road were for the German expellees, they were usually preferable to the expulsion trains the Polish authorities began to operate. Taking up to two weeks to reach Berlin, the trains were typically not provisioned and lacked the most basic amenities. As a result, the death rate on the trains soared. One passenger wrote:

      In our freight wagon there were about 98 people, and it is no exaggeration to say that we were squeezed against each other like sardines in a can. When we reached Allenstein people started to die, and had to be deposited along the side of the rails. One or more dead bodies greeted us every morning of our journey after that; they just had to be abandoned on the embankments. There must have been many, many bodies left lying along the track….

      The train spent more time stopping than moving. It took us more than 14 days to reach the Russian occupation zone. We rarely traveled at night….After a few days we had no more to eat. Sometimes, by begging the Polish driver, we were able to get a little warm water drawn from the engine….The nights were unbearable because of the overcrowding. We could neither keep upright nor sit down, much less lie down. We were so tightly squeezed together that it was impossible not to jostle each other occasionally. Recriminations and quarrels erupted, even attempts to exchange blows in the middle of this human scrum. The very sick suffered the worst. Typhus was widespread throughout the entire transport and the number of deaths grew with each passing day. You can well imagine the state of hygiene that prevailed in the wagon.[28]

      A German priest who witnessed the arrival of German expellees at the border described what he saw:

      The people, men, women, and children all mixed together, were tightly packed in the railway cars, these cattle wagons themselves being locked from the outside. For days on end, the people were transported like this, and in Görlitz the wagons were opened for the first time. I have seen with my own eyes that out of one wagon alone 10 corpses were taken and thrown into coffins which had been kept on hand. I noted further that several persons had become deranged…The people were covered in excrement, which led me to believe that they were squeezed together so tightly that there was no longer any possibility for them to relieve themselves at a designated place.[29]

      Several observers compared the fate of the German expellees to the victims of the German concentration camps. Maj. Stephen Terrell of the Parachute Regiment stated: “Even a cursory visit to the hospitals in Berlin, where some of these people have dragged themselves, is an experience which would make the sights in the Concentration Camps appear normal.”[30]

      Adrian Kanaar, a British military doctor working in a Berlin medical facility, reported on an expellee train from Poland in which 75 had died on the journey due to overcrowding. Although Kanaar had just completed a stint as a medical officer at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, what he witnessed of the expellees’ plight so distressed him that he declared his willingness to face a court martial if necessary for making the facts known to the press. Kanaar declared that he had not “spent six years in the army to see a tyranny established which is as bad as the Nazis.”[31]

      Gerald Gardiner, later to become Lord Chancellor of Great Britain, had been a member of a volunteer ambulance unit working with concentration camp survivors. Gardiner stated regarding the expellee trains arriving in the late summer and autumn of 1945 from the Recovered Territories, “The removal of the dead in carts from the railway stations was a grim reminder of what I saw in early days in Belsen.”[32]

      An eyewitness report of the arrival in Berlin of a train which had left Poland with 1,000 German expellees aboard reads:

      Nine hundred and nine men, women, and children dragged themselves and their luggage from a Russian railway train at Leherte station today, after 11 days traveling in boxcars from Poland.

      Red Army soldiers lifted 91 corpses from the train, while relatives shrieked and sobbed as their bodies were piled in American lend-lease trucks and driven off for internment in a pit near a concentration camp.

      The refugee train was like a macabre Noah’s ark. Every car was jammed with Germans…the families carry all their earthly belongings in sacks, bags, and tin trucks…Nursing infants suffer the most, as their mothers are unable to feed them, and frequently go insane as they watch their offspring slowly die before their eyes. Today four screaming, violently insane mothers were bound with rope to prevent them from clawing other passengers.

      “Many women try to carry off their dead babies with them,” a Russian railway official said. “We search the bundles whenever we discover a weeping woman, to make sure she is not carrying an infant corpse with her.[33]

      Conditions in Poland for Germans after the war were so bad that many Germans saw no other option than to leave Poland. Food ration cards were progressively withdrawn from the entire German population in Poland after the war. Like their parents, German children found that they were entitled to no rations at all. The head of the Szczecin-Stołczyn Commissariat proudly reported that, since the end of November 1945, even German children under the age of two had their milk allocation withdrawn from them.

      Polish laws designed to protect German children were typically never enforced. For example, a directive issued in April 1945 by the Polish Ministry of Public Security specifying that nobody under the age of 13 was to be detained was never followed. More than two years later, the Polish Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare was complaining that the regulations against imprisoning children in camps continued to be “completely ignored.” German children were illegally detained in Polish internment camps as late as August 1949.[34]

Polish-Run Camps

      Many of the Germans in Poland were also sent to the former German concentration camps. In March 1945, the Polish military command declared that the entire German people shared the blame for starting World War II. Over 105,000 Germans were sent to labor camps in Poland before their expulsion from Poland. The Polish authorities soon converted concentration camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau, Łambinowice (called Lamsdorf by its German occupants) and others into internment and labor camps. In fact, the liberation of the last surviving Jewish inmates of the Auschwitz main camp and the arrival of the first ethnic Germans were separated by less than two weeks.

      When the camps in Poland were finally closed, it is estimated that as many as 50% of the inmates, mostly women and children, had died from ill-treatment, malnutrition, and diseases.[35]

      Many Germans were also tortured prior to entering the Polish-run camps. For example, Tuviah Friedman was a Polish Jew who survived the German concentration camps. Friedman by his own admission beat up to 20 German prisoners a day to obtain confessions and weed out SS officers. Friedman stated: “It gave me satisfaction. I wanted to see if they would cry or beg for mercy.”[36]

      In a confidential report concerning the Polish concentration camps filed with the Foreign Office, R.W. F. Bashford wrote: “[T]he concentration camps were not dismantled, but rather taken over by new owners. Mostly they are run by Polish militia. In Świętochłowice, prisoners who are not starved or whipped to death are made to stand, night after night, in cold water up to their necks, until they perish. In Breslau there are cellars from which, day and night, the screams of victims can be heard.”[37]

      Lamsdorf in Upper Silesia was initially built by Germany to house Allied prisoners of war. This camp’s postwar population of 8,064 Germans was decimated through starvation, disease, hard labor, and physical mistreatment. A surviving German doctor at Lamsdorf recorded the deaths of 6,488 German inmates in the camp after the war, including 628 children.[38]

      A report submitted to the U.S. Senate dated August 28, 1945, reads: “In ‘Y’ [code for a camp, from the original document], Upper Silesia, an evacuation camp has been prepared which holds at present 1,000 people….A great part of the people are suffering from symptoms of starvation; there are cases of tuberculosis and always new cases of typhoid….Two people seriously ill with syphilis have been dealt with in a very simple way: They were shot….Yesterday a woman from ‘K’ [another camp] was shot and a child wounded.”[39]

      Zgoda, which had been a satellite camp of Auschwitz during the war, was reopened by the Polish Security Service as a punishment and labor camp. Thousands of Germans in Poland were arrested and sent to Zgoda for labor duties. The prisoners were denied adequate food and medical care, the overcrowded barrack buildings were crawling with lice, and beatings were a common occurrence. The camp director, Salomon Morel, told the prisoners at the gate that he would show them what Auschwitz had meant. A man named Günther Wollny, who had the misfortune of being an inmate in both Auschwitz and Zgoda, later stated, “I’d rather be 10 years in a German camp than one day in a Polish one.”[40] 

      A notable element of the postwar Polish camp system was the prevalence of sexual assault as well as ritualized sexual humiliation and punishment suffered by the female inmates. The practice at Jaworzno, as reported by Antoni Białecki of the local Office of Public Security, was to “take ethnically German women at gunpoint home at night and rape them.” The camp functioned as a sexual supermarket for its 170-strong militia guard contingent.

      The sexual humiliation of female prisoners in the Polish camp at Potulice had become an institutional practice by the end of 1945. Many of the women were sexually abused and beaten, and some of the punishments resulted in horrific injuries. The sexual exploitation of women in Polish-run camps contrasts to the experience of women in German-run concentration camps. Rape or other forms of sexual mistreatment was an extremely rare occurrence at German concentration camps and severely punished by the authorities if detected.[41]

      The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) attempted to send a delegation to investigate the atrocities reported in the Polish camps. It was not until July 17, 1947, when most Germans had either died or had been expelled from the camps, that ICRC officials were finally allowed to inspect a Polish camp. Yet even at this late date there were still a few camps the ICRC was not allowed to investigate.[42]

      Jewish journalist John Sack confirmed the torture and murder of German prisoners in postwar Polish camps operated by the Office of State Security. Most of the camps were staffed and run by Jews, with help from Poles, Czechs, Russians, and concentration camp survivors. Virtually the entire personnel at these camps were eager to take revenge on the defeated Germans. In three years after the war, Sack estimates that from 60,000 to 80,000 Germans died in the Office’s camps.[43]  

      Efforts to bring perpetrators in Polish camps to justice were largely unsuccessful. Czesław Gęborski, director of the camp at Lamsdorf, was indicted by Polish authorities in 1956 for wanton brutality against the German prisoners. Gęborski admitted at his trial that his only goal in taking the job was “to exact revenge” on the Germans. On October 4, 1945, Gęborski ordered his guards to shoot down anyone trying to escape a fire that engulfed one of the barracks buildings; a minimum of 48 prisoners were killed that day. The guards at Lamsdorf also routinely beat the German prisoners and stole from them. German prisoners in Lamsdorf died of hunger and diseases in droves; guards recalled scenes of children begging for scraps of food and crusts of bread. Gęborski was found not guilty despite strong evidence of his criminal acts.[44]         

 Poland’s Stunted Development    

       The Polish report states:

      Poland and its people are still suffering from the negative effects of the Second World War on the country’s population, economy, infrastructure, and the progress it has been able to make in scholarship, education, and culture…Today, Poland’s status in terms of civilizational growth in Europe and worldwide would have been completely different, had it not been for the Second World War and its aftereffects. For several generations following their wartime decimation, the people of Poland have been forced to undertake a huge effort to raise their country from ruins and restore it in the aftermath of the War.[45]

      The Polish report is correct that Poland has faced stunted economic growth and development after World War II. However, most of this has been caused by the Soviet Union’s control of Poland after World War II.

The Allies refuse to pay reparations for the occupation of Eastern Europe. Russia: No truth or reparations for victims of Soviet-era repressions report 2022

      World War II was supposedly fought to stop fascist aggression and to create democratic institutions in the liberated nations of Europe. However, within a remarkably short period after the end of the war, the Soviet Union ruthlessly subjected Poland and other Eastern European nations to its totalitarian control. The Red Army brought Moscow-trained secret policemen into every Soviet occupied country, put local communists in control of the national media, and dismantled youth groups and other civic organizations. The Soviets also brutally arrested, murdered, and deported people whom they believed to be anti-Soviet, and enforced a policy of ethnic cleansing.[46]

      On March 5, 1946, less than 10 months after the defeat of Germany, Winston Churchill made his dramatic Iron Curtain speech in Fulton, Missouri. Churchill stated in this speech: “A shadow has fallen upon the scenes so lately lighted by the Allied victory…The Communist parties, which were very small in all these Eastern states of Europe, have been raised to pre-eminence and power far beyond their numbers and are seeking everywhere to obtain totalitarian control.”[47] Churchill thus acknowledged that the Soviet Union was obtaining control of Poland and other Eastern European nations. A war allegedly fought for democracy and freedom had turned into a nightmare for the people of the Eastern European nations.

      Like other Eastern European countries, Poland faced major economic hardships and arrested development after the Second World War. This was caused primarily by the Soviet Union’s control of Poland after the war rather than by Germany’s destruction of Poland during the war.


      Poland does not have a legitimate claim for reparations from Germany. The Polish report published in 2022 states that Germany was solely responsible for starting World War II. In reality, Poland in 1939 committed numerous acts of violence against its ethnic German minority, causing Germany to invade Poland to end these atrocities.

      If Poland has a legitimate claim to reparations for the death and destruction that occurred in Poland during World War II, then Germans who were expelled from Poland also have legitimate claims for the deaths of their family members after the war. German expellees from Poland also had their real estate and most of their personal property either stolen or destroyed by the Allies. German expellees have never been compensated for these losses. Instead, they were forced to live in abject poverty in Germany, while paying reparations to Jewish survivors of the so-called Holocaust.                   


[1] The Barnes Review, Vol. XXVIII, No. 6., Nov./Dec. 2022, p. 44.

[2] https://straty-wojenne.pl/.

[3] Ibid., p. 17.

[4] Ibid., pp. 17-18.

[5] Ibid., p. 25.

[6] Ibid., p. 63.

[7] Barnett, Correlli, The Collapse of British Power, New York: William Morrow, 1972, p. 560; see also Taylor, A.J.P., The Origins of the Second World War, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1961, p. 211.

[8] Shadewaldt, Hans, Polish Acts of Atrocity Against the German Minority in Poland, Berlin, and New York: German Library of Information, 2nd edition, 1940, pp. 75-76.

[9] Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, Cal.: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, pp. 260-262, 387.

[10] Ibid., pp. 452-453.

[11] Ibid., p. 554.

[12] Day, Donald, Onward Christian Soldiers, Newport Beach, Cal.: The Noontide Press, 2002, p. 56.

[13] Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, Cal.: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, pp. 358, 382, 388, 391-92, 479.

[14] Ibid., pp. 500-501, 550.

[15] Ibid., pp. 509-510.

[16] Ibid., p. 509

[17] De Jong, Louis, The German Fifth Column in the Second World War, New York: Howard Fertig, 1973, p. 37.

[18] Barnes, Harry Elmer, Barnes against the Blackout, Costa Mesa, Cal.: The Institute for Historical Review, 1991, p. 222.

[19] Hoggan, David L., The Forced War: When Peaceful Revision Failed, Costa Mesa, Cal.: Institute for Historical Review, 1989, p. 390.

[20] Tedor, Richard, Hitler’s Revolution, Chicago: 2013, pp. 160-161.

[21] https://straty-wojenne.pl/, p. 503.

[22] Douglas, R. M., Orderly and Humane: The Expulsion of the Germans after the Second World War, New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2012, p. 93.

[23] Ibid., pp. 94-95.

[24] Bessel, Richard, Germany 1945: From War to Peace, London: Harper Perennial, 2010, pp. 214-215.

[25] Ibid., p. 215.

[26] Ibid., pp. 216-217.

[27] Douglas, R. M., Orderly and Humane: The Expulsion of the Germans after the Second World War, New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2012, p. 103.

[28] Ibid., pp. 109-110.

[29] Davies, Norman and Moorhouse, Roger, Microcosm, London: Pimlico, 2003, p. 422.

[30] Douglas, R. M., Orderly and Humane: The Expulsion of the Germans after the Second World War, New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2012, p. 117.

[31] Ibid., pp. 117-118.

[32] Ibid., p. 118.

[33] Wales, Henry, Chicago Tribune Press Service, Nov. 18, 1945.

[34] Douglas, R. M., Orderly and Humane: The Expulsion of the Germans after the Second World War, New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2012, pp. 233-234, 236.

[35] Merten, Ulrich, Forgotten Voices: The Expulsion of the Germans from Eastern Europe after World War II, New Brunswick and London: Transaction Publishers, 2012, pp. 9, 65.

[36] Stover, Eric, Peskin, Victor, and Koenig, Alexa, Hiding in Plain Sight: The Pursuit of War Criminals from Nuremberg to the War on Terror, Oakland, Cal.: University of California Press, 2016, pp. 70-71.

[37] Public Record Office, FO 371/46990.

[38] De Zayas, Alfred-Maurice, Nemesis at Potsdam: The Anglo-Americans and the Expulsion of the Germans, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977, pp. 125-126.

[39] “Evacuation and Concentration Camps in Silesia” in Congressional Record, Senate, Aug. 2, 1945, Annex A-4778/79.

[40] Lowe, Keith, Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2012, pp. 135-137.

[41] Douglas, R. M., Orderly and Humane: The Expulsion of the Germans After the Second World War, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2012, pp. 141-142.

[42] International Committee of the Red Cross, Report of its Activities During the Second World War, Geneva: 1948, Vol. 1, pp. 334 et seq.

[43] Sack, John, An Eye for an Eye, 4th edition, New York: Basic Books, 2000, p. 114.

[44] Naimark, Norman M., Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing in Twentieth-Century Europe, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001, p. 130.

[45] https://straty-wojenne.pl/ , p. 19.

[46] Applebaum, Anne, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, New York: Doubleday, 2012, pp. 192-193.

[47] Ibid.

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3 Responses

  1. Sverker says:

    Alfred Schafer, recently said in an intervju, that he had got new information about the real reasons behind the murder of polish officers by (((NKVD))) in Katyn. It was done to get rid of witnesses, as they had seen (and maybe also participated in) the murders of german civilians in polish territory, made by the same (((NKVD))), to get Hitler to “start” WWII.
    I think this solves a lot of questions about the real reasons.
    Have you also heard about this and if there is some sort of prof of this statement?

  2. John Wear says:

    I have not heard that the real reason behind the murder of Polish officers in Katyn was to get rid of witnesses of the murder of German
    civilians in Polish territory. This is quite an interesting claim. If anyone finds documentation for Alfred Schafer’s statement, please let us know about it.

  3. Weland Schmidt says:

    As for Polish deaths and destruction during the war, the blame rests with the un-uniformed terrorist groups that operated in Poland with Anglo-Soviet backing. Their penchant for launching large scale attacks on Germans while sheltering behind civilians in densely populated cities (which is somehow labelled an “uprising” by regime scholars) undoubtedly caused massive destruction and loss of life, a significant proportion of their claimed casualties. Poles may compete with Serbs for the greatest amount of self-inflicted pain in history.

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