Polish archbishop criticises Berlin exhibition

15th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

15 August 2006, WARSAW - A senior Polish Roman Catholic cleric on Tuesday expressed concern over a German exhibition detailing post-Second World War expulsions, particularly the flight of ethnic Germans from Poland and Eastern Europe. "All expulsions and flights linked to the Second World War and post-war resettlements are a painful and dramatic consequence of Hitler's attack on Poland and Europe. This must be remembered," Archbishop Jozef Michalik said Tuesday, quoted by Polish Radio. Michalik serves as c

15 August 2006

WARSAW - A senior Polish Roman Catholic cleric on Tuesday expressed concern over a German exhibition detailing post-Second World War expulsions, particularly the flight of ethnic Germans from Poland and Eastern Europe.

"All expulsions and flights linked to the Second World War and post-war resettlements are a painful and dramatic consequence of Hitler's attack on Poland and Europe. This must be remembered," Archbishop Jozef Michalik said Tuesday, quoted by Polish Radio.

Michalik serves as chairman of the Polish Episcopal Conference.

German Christian Democrat MP Erika Steinbach, is head of the German Federation of the Expelled is the chief organiser of the Berlin exhibition titled "Forced Paths." It is aimed at exploring the fate of millions of Europeans forced to leave their homes over the 20th Century.

But in a controversial move, the exhibition for the first time addresses the fate of ethnic Germans who after the defeat of Nazi German were expelled from and fled Polish territories that had been previously occupied by the Nazis by force.

Many Poles, including senior politicians, have criticized the move by Steinbach to treat post-war German expellees as the same kind of victims of war as Jews or Poles. Most German expellees had earlier supported Nazi Germany or indeed been Nazis themselves, Poles argue.

And it is Nazi Germany, Poles maintain, that is ultimately responsible for all civilian suffering during the Second World War for having launched the war in the first place.

Archbishop Michalik said Tuesday it must be kept in mind that Steinbach herself was born in a town near Gdansk in Nazi-occupied Poland as the daughter of a soldier who willingly served in Adolf Hitler's Nazi army.

As a child, Steinbach was among an estimated 12 to 14 million ethnic Germans who were either expelled or fled from Poland and other Eastern European countries in the aftermath of the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany.

"She was born on territory from which Poles had previously been expelled or forced-out for resettlement (by the Nazis)," Archbishop Michalik said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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