Warsaw mayor cancels Berlin trip over refugee exhibition

11th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

11 August 2006, WARSAW - Former Polish prime minister and acting Warsaw mayor Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz suddenly cancelled a trip to Warsaw's twin city of Berlin planned for Friday. Marcinkiewicz said the reason for his decision was the opening Thursday of an exhibition in Berlin by the organization of ethnic Germans expelled from their Eastern European homelands at the end of World War II. Marcinkiewicz told Poland's TVN 24 news channel late Thursday that his visit to Berlin could be misinterpreted in Polan

11 August 2006

WARSAW - Former Polish prime minister and acting Warsaw mayor Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz suddenly cancelled a trip to Warsaw's twin city of Berlin planned for Friday.

Marcinkiewicz said the reason for his decision was the opening Thursday of an exhibition in Berlin by the organization of ethnic Germans expelled from their Eastern European homelands at the end of World War II.

Marcinkiewicz told Poland's TVN 24 news channel late Thursday that his visit to Berlin could be misinterpreted in Poland and exploited.

Local elections are scheduled to take place in Poland in the autumn and Marcinkiewicz is campaigning on behalf of the nationalist conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party for the position of Warsaw mayor.

Marcinkiewicz said he was sure that Berlin's mayor Klaus Wowereit would understand his reasons.

He also stressed that he supported good relations between Warsaw and Berlin and therefore he planned to invite Wowereit to Warsaw to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the twinning of the two capital cities.

The opening of the exhibition in Berlin has met with sharp criticism in Poland.

Speaking to journalists in Warsaw on Thursday, Daniel Pawlowicz, an MP for the nationalist League of Polish Families (LPR), urged Poland's foreign ministry to "react strongly" to the exhibition, titled "Forced Routes, Expulsions in the 20th Century."

He said its treatment of ethnic German expellees falsified history. The LPR is the junior partner in Poland's governing coalition.

Pawlowicz added that the Polish government must always react in similar cases and "show the lines" that Germans may not cross.

Members of the All-Polish Youth, the LPR's youth organization, planned to stage a demonstration in front of the exhibition on Thursday.

"Perpetrators are made into victims, and victims into perpetrators," said Rafal Malolepszy, an initiator of the demonstration.

Many Poles see the exhibition as the first step towards a "Centre Against Expulsions" in Berlin envisaged by Erika Steinbach, head of German expellees federation BdV.

DPA with Expatica

Subject: German news

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