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"LIABILITY FOR WAR DAMAGE IN EUROPE" - INTERNATIONAL ACADEMIC CONFERENCE OF THE COLLEGIUM INTERMARIUM
Is there collective justice in terms of war reparations and war damage reparations? Will the model of this justice find its application in the expected settlement of the Russian aggression against Ukraine? These issues constituted the leading threads of the International Scientific Conference "Responsibility for War Damages".
It was organised thanks to the initiative of the team of the Warsaw Collegium Intermarium and took place on 5-6 October this year. Speakers included the Director of the Jan Karski Institute of War Losses, Prof Konrad Wnęk; members of the Institute's Council - Prof Mieczysław Prystupa and Dr Paweł Pońsko; and a representative of the Research Division of the institution, Dr Damian Markowski.
The two-day conference was divided into five panels. During the first panel entitled. "Reparations in a historical and legal perspective", Director Konrad Wnęk introduced the issue of Poland's demographic losses during World War II, incurred as a result of German aggression and invasion of Poland. "Poland suffered the greatest demographic and economic losses compared to other countries," he said, adding that photographs of the destroyed Warsaw can only be compared to Hiroshima. "The destruction of Warsaw was a deliberate action, not only during the Warsaw Uprising. We have to think about the intention of it. It was a crime against humanity, this city did not need to be destroyed". This was just one of the themes taken up by the Director, who also mentioned, among other things, the German extermination of the Polish intellectual and leadership elites.
As part of the second panel entitled "Reparations in Polish-German relations", Professor Mieczysław Prystupa talked about the methodology of estimating material losses caused by Germany during World War II. In turn, Dr Paweł Pońsko presented a lecture entitled "Economic Costs of German Aggression and Occupation in 1939-1945. Contemporary Value of Historical War Losses and Methods of Indexation". In doing so, he mentioned the Polish economists of the inter-war period, thanks to whom, we are able to estimate the economic development of the Second Republic between 1937 and 1939 at 10% per annum. Unfortunately, the prospect of maintaining this dynamic was brutally interrupted by the German and then Soviet invasion.
The participation of representatives of the Jan Karski Institute of War Losses was complemented on the second day of the conference in a panel entitled "Reparations in Polish-Russian Relations" by Dr Damian Markowski. In his speech entitled "Losses of the Polish state in the former eastern territories in the years 1939-1946. Outline of the issue", he straightforwardly stated that "(...) for eastern Poland the years of World War II were a cataclysm to the cube. For there we had three occupations: twice by the Soviets and additionally by the Germans".