Polish deputy premier backs expellees memorial

4th December 2007, Comments 0 comments

4th December 2007, Polish Deputy Premier Grzegorz Schetnya in an interview praises the idea of a German-Polish border city's memorial on expulsions and urges top-level talks between Warsaw and Berlin to agree on carrying the idea out.

4th December 2007

Polish Deputy Premier Grzegorz Schetnya in an interview praises the idea of a German-Polish border city's memorial on expulsions and urges top-level talks between Warsaw and Berlin to agree on carrying the idea out.

In the daily Rzeczpospolita, Schetnya was commenting on ideas put forth by officials in the German and Polish cities of Goerlitz and Zgorzelec, which flank either side of the Neiss River forming the border between the two countries.

Schetnya, who is Interior Minister under the new government of Premier Donald Tusk, called the proposal for a memorial against expulsions an "ingenious idea" which was a good answer to "claims and evil emotions."

"It would be good if Premier Donald Tusk would discuss with (German) Chancellor Angela Merkel how to proceed from the planning phases to carrying it out," he told the newspaper.

Officials in Goerlitz and Zgorzelec had first put the idea of a memorial and a joint centre for research and documentation on the issue of expulsions, forced resettlement and flight in early 2007.

The idea found a number of backers, including the president of European Parliament, Hans-Gert Poettering.

Prior to and during World War II, Goerlitz was a German city flanking both sides of the Neiss River. After the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, the river became the boundary between Poland and then-East Germany, and the eastern part of the city was named Zgorzelec by the Poles.

In 1998, Goerlitz and Zgorzelec jointly proclaimed themselves as an "Europastadt" (European City).

The issue of expulsions remains an emotional one in relations between Germany and Poland. In the waning days of World War II, millions of ethnic Germans were driven from their towns and cities in regions now comprising the western part of Poland.

Plans for a centre in Berlin to recall the expulsions have angered Poles, fearful of possible attempts by the expellees to try to reclaim property.

DPA

Subject: German news, Poland, expulsion, World War II

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