Merkel backs memorial in Berlin for refugees

19th September 2006, Comments 0 comments

19 September 2006, BERLIN - Chancellor Angela Merkel called Monday for a memorial in the German capital Berlin to the expulsion of millions of ethnic Germans from eastern Europe after the Second World War. She said it was important to commemorate the refugee experience, but this would only work if the causes were kept in mind. If it had not been for the crimes of the Nazis, the expulsion of the Germans would not have followed. Addressing an issue that has been at the centre of recent friction between Polan

19 September 2006

BERLIN - Chancellor Angela Merkel called Monday for a memorial in the German capital Berlin to the expulsion of millions of ethnic Germans from eastern Europe after the Second World War.

She said it was important to commemorate the refugee experience, but this would only work if the causes were kept in mind. If it had not been for the crimes of the Nazis, the expulsion of the Germans would not have followed.

Addressing an issue that has been at the centre of recent friction between Poland and Germany, Merkel repeated a commitment in a coalition agreement between her Christian Democrats and the German Social Democrats to establish a "visible marker" in the city.

Attending a memorial ceremony in Berlin marking 60 years since the expulsions, she said she would be pleased if "a European network" rather than an all-German group were to design the proposed site.

Poland has fiercely criticised plans by a federation representing the descendants of 14 million expelled Germans to build a museum in Berlin. A temporary exhibition that demonstrates the concept with images of 1940s refugee treks is currently taking place in Berlin.

Poles have voiced concern that sympathy for the refugees will reduce German contrition for Nazi crimes.

Monday's ceremony was organized by Merkel's Christian Democrat and Christian Social Union Bundestag caucus.

Merkel condemned plans by one refugee faction, the Preussische Treuhand, to sue eastern European governments for compensation for real estate lost when the Germans were removed in the late 1940s

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article