In response to the Polish Institute of National Remembrance’s (IPN) call to comment on foreign media reports, German authorities, including the Labour Ministry, denied on Wednesday that they had been paying out post-WWII pensions to Nazi collaborators.
“Such pensions would be scandalous,” wrote the IPN, stressing, nonetheless, that “pensions for collaborating with the Nazi regime” should not be mistaken with “compensation paid to Polish citizens who were victims of the German persecutions.”
The IPN reported on Wednesday that articles appeared on www.francetvinfo.fr in February 2019 citing the French Press Agency (AFP) who wrote that in a few European states, including Poland, there are people receiving pensions from Germany for collaborating with the Nazi regime.
It was stressed in the AFP press release cited by the website that the German Labour and Social Affairs Ministry was the source of this information. As a result, the IPN asked the ministry whether this information reflects reality. The IPN also requested the ministry to specify the number of these pensions and provide information on what grounds they are paid out to Polish citizens.
The German Ministry part answered that “individuals who collaborated with the Nazi regime are not receiving any pensions from Germany”. State Ministry of Baden-Württemberg of Social Affairs and Integration wrote that “the information originating from the foreign press is false and misleading in this regard.”
The Baden-Württemberg and North Rhine-Westphalia member states of the Federal Republic of Germany are responsible for specifying the range and amount of pensions paid to Polish citizen who were victims of the Nazi regime.
The letter to IPN also states that “entities who were found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity are not eligible to receiving pensions.” Moreover, the letter reads that “there are currently (end of 2018) 300 individuals living in Poland who receive war victims’ pensions as victims or families of a deceased victim as stated in classifications specified by Baden-Württemberg law.”
IPN deputy head Mateusz Szpytma said that the case exemplifies how some foreign media falsify WWII history, adding that “so far it has been written that Poles are also responsible for the Holocaust. This time it was written that Poles are the most numerous recipients of pensions for collaborating with ‘the Nazis’. It must be constantly reiterated that, from day one of WWII, Poland was fighting the Third German Reich that murdered millions of Poles. Poland suffered great material losses too.”
Mr Szpytma said that the IPN report on “pensions” will be sent to foreign press agencies, including the AFP. “The IPN will monitor whether the report is published along with appropriate rectifications by the press agencies and numerous Western European and Russian websites, including www.francetvinfo.fr, that have been writing on this topic.”
The IPN, who is still waiting for North Rhine-Westphalia ministry’s answer, recalled that people who served in the Wehrmacht and other military units such as the Waffen-SS are not entitled to additional benefits.