Law and Justice party leader Jarosław Kaczyński
Law and Justice party leader Jarosław Kaczyński has called on Germany to pay war reparations Reuters

The leader of Poland's ruling Law and Justice party Jarosław Kaczyński has hit out at Germany's role in the Second World War, demanding that Berlin pays reparations.

"We are talking about huge sums and also the fact that the Germans have for years rejected their responsibility for World War II," said Kaczynski, who holds no office in the right-wing government but is widely seen as the most powerful politician in Poland.

Kaczynski was talking late last night (27 July) with listeners on Catholic radio station Radio Maryja, and has made numerous controversial remarks about Warsaw's neighbour.

The chairman of Poland's ruling party also criticised the recently opened Museum of the Second World War in the port city of Gdansk, which has frequently come in his sights.

The £80m (€89.3m) museum –with more than 2,000 exhibits – opened in March, but many conservatives have labelled it unpatriotic.

Critics claim that instead of championing Polish resistance during the conflict, too many of the rooms are devoted to Poland's fate at the hands of two superpowers – Nazi Germany and Stalin's Russia.

"It is a museum that subscribes to German historic policy," Kaczynski insisted.

The politician also turned his fire on Poland's current president Andrzej Duda, who he said made "a very serious mistake" last week by vetoing a controversial law to replace Supreme Court judges with government nominees.

Judicial reforms

Three key judicial reforms have been passed by Poland's parliament, prompting days of demonstrations across the country. However, before they become law, they needed approval by the president.

The proposals set Poland's right-wing government on a collision course with the European Union (EU).

The European bloc had threatened to impose sanctions if the reforms were not scrapped. European Council President Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister, had warned of a "black scenario that could ultimately lead to the marginalisation of Poland in Europe".

"As president I don't feel this law would strengthen a sense of justice," said Duda, a former Law and Justice politician. "These laws must be amended."

However, Kaczynski argued that Polish politicians should stand up to Berlin and the European Union, but said "for that you need diplomacy that is effective and loyal to the state".