Germans do not want to rewrite history: Koehler
30 August 2005, WARSAW - German President Horst Koehler Tuesday in Warsaw assured Poles no serious political force in Germany wants or intends to revise the history of the Second World War and its immediate aftermath.
30 August 2005
WARSAW - German President Horst Koehler Tuesday in Warsaw assured Poles no serious political force in Germany wants or intends to revise the history of the Second World War and its immediate aftermath.
"We must discuss everything, but in a spirit of reconciliation," Koehler told reporters in Warsaw following talks with Poland's President Aleksander Kwasniewski. "There is no place for [material] claims and settlements," he said.
The statement came in response to Polish fears that a planned Berlin-based centre documenting the expulsion of ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe after the WWII defeat of Nazi Germany could be used to skew or revise historical facts about Germany's role as the primary aggressor during the war.
Poles also harbour deep fears that expellees or their heirs may attempt to win compensation for properties they were forced to abandon in Poland.
Germanys small Expellees' Federation (BdV) has called for the centre to be built in Berlin to document the fates of more than 15 million ethnic Germans expelled from the east after WWII.
It has also pledged to address the forced expulsion of other peoples in modern history.
Germans fled the east in fear of reprisals, but were also forced to go west to Germany by decisions made by the Allies at the February 1945 Yalta Conference
Poland has, however, forwarded a counter proposal for a European network of centres outlining the mass expulsion and re-settlement of various European ethnic groups after WWII in order to provide a full and accurate historical picture of the tragic events.
The German president arrived in the Polish capital Warsaw Tuesday for a three-day official visit to attend ceremonies marking the 25th anniversary of the rise of Poland's freedom-fighting Solidarity trade union.
Koehler is one of nearly 30 senior statesmen due to arrive in the cradle of the Solidarity movement in the Baltic Sea port city of Gdansk for official celebrations.
Following bilateral talks with his Polish counterpart Aleksander Kwasniewski, Koehler said he would be in Poland September 1 for solemn ceremonies marking the 66th anniversary of Nazi Germanys attack on Poland, which sparked the Second World War.
Noting that both Poland and Germany were facing a general election in September, Kwasniewski said he was confident bilateral relations would remain on a good footing regardless of who comes to power.
Kwasniewski also called for Germany and other large European Union states to ensure the bloc's policy towards Russia is not conducted above the heads of smaller new members and former Soviet satellites such as Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.
The outgoing Polish president also thanked Germany for its staunch support for Poland's entry into the European Union. The country was the largest of 10 mostly ex-communist states to join the expanded 25-member bloc in May 2004.
Kwasniewski will end his second and final term in office this October.
Subject: German news