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'Berlin needs monument for Polish WWII victims'

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 30.01.2014 16:09
A prominent German historian and rabbi has said that it is 'highly puzzling' that Berlin has no monument devoted to Polish WWII victims of the Nazis.

Execution of Poles, Bochnia. Image:wikipedia

Dr Andreas Nachama, who is director of Berlin's Topography of Terror Documentation Centre, highlighted the issue while inaugurating a series of lectures about Poland's plight during World War II.

“There are many memorials to victims of World War II in Berlin, but there is no permanent site commemorating the martyrdom of Poles,” he said.

"This is a highly puzzling situation."

Nachama noted that besides monuments to Jewish victims, there are three in tribute to Soviet soldiers, while in 2008, a monument was unveiled for homosexual victims of Nazism.

The historian, who served as president of Berlin's Jewish community from 1997 to 2001, said that this year's 75th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland would be an appropriate moment to create a Polish monument.

He also revealed his own plans to create an exhibition this year to mark the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Rising of Polish underground soldiers against the Nazis.

“This is important, because Germans still confuse the Warsaw Rising of 1944 with the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943,” he said.


About 200,000 Polish civilians died during Germany's campaign to conquer Poland in September 1939.

The invasion was accompanied by heavy bombing of Warsaw and other cities, and about 25,000 civilians died in the capital before it was overrun.

Germany then carried out the so-called Intelligenzaktion against the intelligentsia until the Spring of 1940, killing about 50,000. An international scandal emerged after professors from the Jagiellionian University in Krakow were sent to concentration camps.

This was followed by the AB-Aktion which saw about 30,000 arrested, and about 7000 shot.

It is estimated that all in all, about 2 million ethnic Poles died at the hands of the Nazis. About 2 million Poles were transported to the Reich to perform forced labour, and thousands of children deemed racially acceptable were taken from their families and given to German ones. After the Warsaw Rising of 1944 was defeated (following the deaths of about 200,000 Poles) Hitler gave the order that what remained of the Polish capital must be dynamited. (nh)

Source: PAP

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