Poland was one of four countries that sent its troops, alongside the Americans, into Iraq in March 2003. Over 15,000 Polish soldiers served there until withdrawal in 2008. Twenty two of them died. Now one of their widows has organized a campaign to get compensation for the families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan (where Poland currently has 2600 troops).
Dorota (not her real name) doesn’t remember whether she cried when she found out that her husband had been killed. Her head, she says,”dissolved”. For four months she couldn’t get out of bed. When she finally did she set about making a new life for herself and her daughters – a new house, a new telephone number, new friends. But every night her thirteen year old wailed for her father. They started therapy. It was then, she tells the journalist from Polityka (Poland’s most popular weekly current affairs magazine) that she promised herself “some day someone will pay for all of this.”
Like other war widows Dorota was given a death gratuity of $60,000 (in the US surviving spouses receive $100,000) and a number of allowances including help for her children as long as they were in school. The compensation she is demanding is for her girls – for what they have been through and for the loss of a father to look after them throughout their lives. Twenty seven other families have joined with her and hired lawyers to make a case to Poland’s Ministry of Defense that they should be given 1 million zloty or $300,000 each.
As Polityka reports, the government lawyers say there is no legal justification for the demand. It’s the terrorists who killed the Polish husbands and fathers who should pay up, not them.