What Can the Polish Diaspora Together with the Polish Government Do About Reparations from Germany?

Historical Justice for Poland

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Polish consulates in the United States encourage you to support the efforts of Arkadiusz Mularczyk, MP and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, who held a series of meetings with senators and congressmen in the US Congress. The purpose of these meetings was to obtain support in two aspects: assistance for Ukraine and assistance of the United States to support Polish claims for German reparations for Poland.

Estimated value of WWII reparations from Germany (Źródło: TVP World)

According to the Rheinische Post, "Reparations debates are poison for relations between countries. ... The First World War, with Germany's huge reparations obligations, already showed this". They believe that the imposition of huge reparations on Germany in 1919, which ruined the country, contributed to the rise of Hitler's popularity and his hate speech. He adds that Germany must remember that "they cannot simply brush aside these demands, but at least symbolically and morally they must constantly confess their guilt."

In turn, the Polish government must prepare a professional information campaign about the fact that Poland lost 6 million Polish citizens as a result of the armed attack of Nazi Germany on Poland in 1939, and nearly half of its pre-war territory was taken away. During the German and Soviet occupation, our country lost: 57 percent of lawyers, 39 percent of doctors, 30 percent of clergymen, almost a third of the academic staff. Let us recall that in the diplomatic note, Poland demands from Germany compensation for material and intangible losses in the amount of PLN 6 trillion 220 billion 609 million (US $1,483,677,452), as compensation for the victims of German aggression and occupation and their families for damages and harm, as well as systemic actions aimed at reimbursing cultural goods looted from Poland during the war, which are now in Germany.

It's time for Poland, with the participation of its diaspora, to lead an effective campaign entitled, for example, "Historical justice for Poland".

World Affairs Councils

There is an organization dealing with international affairs in the United States, which has a large network in major American cities. I was a member of this organization in Wisconsin for 10 years, and since my wife was one of its directors, I was involved during this period with many programs about Poland. That organization is the World Affairs Councils.

With the coordination of the entire campaign by the Polish embassy and consulates, with the influence of the American and Polish press, Polish documentaries, feature films, theater performances, discussions among experts and exhibitions, it is possible to create a positive story about Poland by focusing on the American elite; and to show and make the American public aware of the extent to which our country has been destroyed by two barbaric totalitarianisms that have changed it beyond recognition. This campaign could be carried out in cooperation with the World Affairs Councils.

Today, Poland, a member of the European Union and NATO, is a place of economic success, it is also effectively involved in humanitarian and military aid for Ukraine, and it does not look for assistance from wealthier countries. It is a credible, extremely dedicated and solid member of NATO. In order to talk about Polish-German reconciliation, it is necessary to carefully and honestly look at the wrongs suffered by Poles during the Second World War. It cannot be done partially or symbolically.

It's time for Polish citizens to start documenting their losses as well.

It seems that the idea that we presented in Tygodnik Solidarność, consisting in conducting an action among Polish victims of World War II and their heirs, to identify these victims and their heirs, and to prepare formal and legal applications containing lists of lost movable and immovable property plundered by Nazi Germany, is yet another idea to be utilized.

The project can be modeled on the 'Holocaust Era Asset Restitution Taskforce', commonly known as the HEART project, sponsored by the Government of Israel and the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI). The aim of the project was to create legal possibilities and tools for pursuing legal redress for victims of the Holocaust. As a result of this action, 200,000 documented requests were created, which became the legal basis for further legal steps in this case.

I am probably the only Pole who has practical knowledge of the technical aspects of such an operation. We are more than convinced that the Polish side should identify the victims of World War II and their heirs as soon as possible, so that they can submit to the office of the Jan Karski Institute of War Losses at any time, formal applications containing lists of lost movable and immovable goods looted or destroyed by the German invaders — and separately the Soviet ones.

Polish victims of World War II have not only a moral right to damages and compensation. The Polish state should have been documenting the applications of Polish citizens and their descendants living in Poland and abroad for a long time.

The Effectiveness of the American Polonia

The Polish diaspora in America has proven many times that it can unite around specific goals and achieve them effectively. To fight for Polish independence, volunteers, not prisoners of war, set off from America, a total of 22,000 soldiers of the Blue Army.

Polonia has been sending hundreds of millions of dollars to Poland since its inception. She ensured the participation of the United States in financing Radio Free Europe and Voice of America, worked on creating an emigration program for citizens who could not return to the territories occupied by the Soviets after World War II (Displaced Persons Program) to ensure safe emigration to the USA. As part of this program, 150,000 people, Polish citizens, came to the USA.

Polonia ensured the participation of the United States in the recognition of the Polish borders on the rivers Oder and Nysa by the German state. It significantly promoted the celebration of the 1000th anniversary of the Polish state by issuing an American postage stamp depicting a white crowned eagle with a cross. She led to an investigation in the US Congress regarding the Katyn massacre and the recognition of the Soviets as guilty of this crime. She conducted a lobbying campaign in support of Poland's efforts to join NATO (9 million signatures were collected under the petition). She provided assistance in participating in negotiations to grant compensation to Polish citizens for forced labor in Nazi Germany. It transferred approximately USD 200 million to Poland for medical equipment and assistance for flood victims in 1997 and 2001, and many others.

Strategic Communication

Strategic communication of the Polish diaspora is the key to achieving measurable results in almost all joint initiatives, including reparations from Germany. Among those dealing professionally with the Polish diaspora, it is necessary at all costs to change the thought patterns from "sausage, dumplings and folk dances" to effective and professional activities of the Polish diaspora in order to promote the Polish raison d'état and a new image of Poland.

In order to successfully cooperate with the Polish diaspora in America, it is necessary to create an effective strategic communication system that will ensure for many years the communication between Poland and the largest Polish diaspora of the United States — a strategic ally of Poland and the countries of NATO's eastern flank.

After President Biden's visit to Warsaw, we have an extremely favorable press in the USA. We have a great Polish nation, and the Polonia scattered around the world, which is part of this nation. We have great works of Polish intellect, from Paweł Włodkowic to Karol Wojtyła. It's time to put all these resources to good use. Such a chance for Poland happens once in 300 years.

Let's build a Polish lobby in countries that are strategic for us. Let's build and address a narrative based on Pax Polonica - a country of solidarity and love of freedom.

80 years have passed since the height of the abduction of Polish children by Nazi organizations. We need to remember those tragic moments and the heroic activities of attorney Hrabar. No amount of reparations can compensate for those wrongs, even time cannot heal the wounds, but we must prevent that history from repeating itself.


Today, in order to maintain Polish identity in the US and build pro-Polish lobbying, weekend voluntarism is no longer enough. It is necessary to professionalize Polonia and attract its intellectual base.


The destruction of cultural property was one of the priority goals of the Nazis, it was supposed to break the cultural backbone of the Polish nation. It is estimated that Poland lost over 500,000 works of art during the war, and over 20 million valuable volumes.


The war in Ukraine and the sense of threat made Polish diplomacy more active. The nations of the eastern flank behave in a similar way, and the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO only confirms the fact that we are not alone in our assessments when it comes to the threat of aggression from imperialist Russia.


After inflicting unprecedented death and destruction on Poland and its people during World War II, Germany arrogantly spurns Poland’s demand for reparations.