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Monument to Polish WWII victims to be erected in Berlin – dep FM

According to Szynkowski vel Sęk, "the concept and construction of the monument is not an end to the discussion on history, but on the contrary, an important stage on the road to discussion about responsibility and reconciliation."
Radek Pietruszka/PAP

A monument dedicated to the Polish victims of German Nazi occupation during World War Two will be built in the German capital, Poland’s deputy foreign Minister announced on Wednesday.

Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk said during a press conference: “Today’s presentation by German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas is a high point in the first stage to a commemoration of the Polish victims of World War II in the German capital.”

Earlier in the day during the presentation of the concept for the monument in Berlin, Maas said: “The suffering of the civilian population of Poland was largely overlooked for many years in Germany’s collective memory of the Second World War. Last year, the Bundestag therefore took a ground-breaking step with its decision to establish a forum for remembrance and exchange with Poland. I was happy to accept our parliament’s remit on behalf of the Federal Foreign Office – it was in fact very important to me personally.”

“The future forum for remembrance and exchange with Poland could become a milestone for German-Polish reconciliation. For addressing the past is not something we only owe to the dead. For Germans and Poles it remains the basis of our common path towards the future,” he said.

The monument will “honour their lives, their resistance and their courage,” Maas added.

Szynkowski vel Sęk said that consistent efforts of Polish diplomacy had brought about “the first step towards the construction of this monument in Berlin.”

He also said that the concept was developed in consultation with representatives from all German political forces and with the participation of Polish historians, which in unequivocal terms indicates that the monument will be erected.

“It is also significant that the presented concept specifies that the building of the monument will be accompanied by the construction of an education centre depicting in multilingual and digital forms the specific and atrocious nature of the German attack on Poland and the occupation of Poland,” Szynkowski vel Sęk added.

The presented concept also points out that “Germany bears full responsibility for the crimes committed in the name of Germany and at the hands of the Germans and will continue to do so in the future,” he said.

According to Szynkowski vel Sęk, “the concept and construction of the monument is not an end to the discussion on history, but on the contrary, an important stage on the road to discussion about responsibility and reconciliation.”

He indicated that a cornerstone for monument could be laid by 2025, but the ministry hopes that will happen sooner.


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