German-Polish conference over history planned

29th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

29 August 2006, BERLIN - Parliament presidents of Germany and Poland on called Monday for a conference on the troubled history of both nations amid tensions over Germany's new emphasis on the fate of millions ethnic Germans expelled from what is today Poland.

29 August 2006

BERLIN - Parliament presidents of Germany and Poland on called Monday for a conference on the troubled history of both nations amid tensions over Germany's new emphasis on the fate of millions ethnic Germans expelled from what is today Poland.

German Bundestag President Norbert Lammert and Polish Sejm President Marek Jurek, said a meeting should address historical issues when both parliaments hold a planned joint session next year.

"We agree over the fact that this is a central, particularly sensitive topic," said Lammert.

Lammert said he backed Jurek's suggestion to hold a conference in Krzyzowa, a former German estate known until 1945 as Kreisau in Poland which belonged to Helmuth James Graf von Moltke who led resistance to Adolf Hitler.

Moltke was was condemned to death after being convicted by a Nazi court for treason and executed in 1945.

Jurek said the German public should be aware that the Nazi attack on Poland, which opened World War II in 1939, led to not only a five- year occupation and devastation of his nation but also a 50-year period of imprisonment under the communist system.

He said the term "expulsions" should not be used for the millions of ethnic Germans forced to leave their traditional homelands in central and eastern Europe after the Nazi defeat in 1945.

Jurek insisted that the Potsdam Agreement following the war spoke about "resettlement" of ethnic Germans.

The conservative Polish government has been deeply angered over two exhibits recently opened in Berlin which document the mass expulsions of Germans from former German regions in today's Poland including East Prussia, Pommerania and Silesia.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Berlin will never try to avoid taking responsibility for its crimes against Poland during the Nazi era.

At the end of the war some 6.5 million Poles were dead, including 3 million Jews, and cities like Warsaw had been razed to the ground.

But Merkel has also insisted on standing firm in addressing what happened to ethnic Germans after the war.

DPA

Subject: German news

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