Former Polish prime minister rejects compromise with expellees
Jaroslaw Kaczynski rejects any suggestion of a compromise with Germany over a planned memorial in Berlin for Germans expelled from neighbouring countries after World War II.
7th January 2008
Warsaw (dpa) - In an interview published with the Polish opposition leader and former prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, he rejected any suggestion of a compromise with Germany over a planned memorial in Berlin for Germans expelled from neighbouring countries after World War II.
Any participation by Poland in a project that commemorates the expulsion of the Germans would mean an official recognition of the Germans as victims of the war, Kaczynski told Wprost weekly.
Kaczynski said the Poles should not seek a compromise on the issue and should instead say a decisive "no" to the project.
Following his party's defeat at the polls in October, Kaczynski's Law and Justice Party (PiS) is the largest opposition party in the Polish parliament with 159 of the 460 seats.
Kaczynski said neither the Poles nor the victorious Allies were to blame for the expulsion of the Germans.
"One hundred per cent of the blame lay on the side of the Germans, who supported Hitler 'authentically and to the end,'" Kaczynski said.
The former Polish premier said that history was an important part of foreign policy.
If Poles did not remember certain topics, in a few years they would be presented with "a bill for the munitions used to crush the Warsaw Uprising," he said.
The uprising to liberate Warsaw in 1944 was brutally crushed by the Germans, resulting in the deaths of 18,000 Polish soldiers and between 120,000 and 200,000 civilians.
Germany's grand coalition of left and right-wing parties wants to set up a documentation centre to record the plight of Germans expelled from countries like Poland and the then Czechoslovakia at the end of the war.
According to German estimates, some 15 million German speakers were expelled from their homes in the aftermath of the war. Up to 2 million are thought to have died as a result of the expulsions.
In response to concerns that the plan would portray the Germans as victims of the war rather than aggressors, Berlin has offered to expand the centre to include all nationalities expelled from their homes in the post-war period.
German experts are expected to travel to Warsaw later this month to discuss the concept.