Maas asks Poland for forgiveness for Nazi crimes

75 years ago, the uprising in Warsaw began against the Nazi regime. On the occasion of the anniversary, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas visited the Polish capital – and found clear words.

On the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising against the German occupying forces, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has asked Poland for forgiveness for the Nazi crimes. “I am ashamed of what was done to your country by Germans and in the German name, and I am ashamed that this debt was kept secret for far too long after the war,” he said Thursday in the Museum of the Warsaw Uprising in Polish Capital.

At the same time, he spoke out in favor of a memorial for the Polish victims of Nazi rule in Berlin. “This is long overdue,” said the SPD politician. “Such a memorial would not only be a gesture of reconciliation with Poland, but it would also be significant for us Germans.” The crimes could not be undone and many wounds would never heal. “But we can help ensure that the victim is thought of and appropriate.”

In Berlin there are already monuments for individual groups of victims of the Nazi era. The largest and most famous is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe next to the Brandenburg Gate. In addition, there are also monuments to the murdered Sinti and Roma and homosexuals. Polish politicians have been calling for a memorial to the Polish victims for a long time. Meanwhile, there is also an initiative by members of parliament of all fractions – except the AfD.

On August 1, 1944, the Armia Krajowa Рthe Polish Home Army Рhad risen against the occupying power of the Nazis. After 63 days, the Warsaw Uprising was bloodily defeated. About 200,000 Polish soldiers and civilians were killed during the fighting, and about half a million were subsequently deported. In revenge, the Polish capital was almost completely razed by the Nazis. Maas is the highest-ranking German guest in commemoration of the uprising since Chancellor Gerhard Schr̦der, who was in 2004 for the 60th anniversary in Warsaw.