MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –
Source: CDU CSU
Mister President! Ladies and gentlemen! On September 1, 1939 at 4.47 am, the first shot in World War II – that was the beginning of World War II – was fired by the training ship “Schleswig-Holstein” on the Westerplatte, which was on a friendship visit off Danzig. What was declared in German propaganda at the time as the “Polish campaign” was in reality the beginning of a criminal race war. Before the leadership of the Wehrmacht, Adolf Hitler had already declared the total destruction and annihilation of Poland on August 22, 1939.
This race war was a breach of civilization, and Polish soil is still soaked with the blood of the victims of this racial madness. Germans set up concentration camps on Polish soil; Auschwitz-Birkenau is synonymous with these crimes. A Polish writer put it in a nutshell. He described what happened between 1939 and 1945: Poland became the cemetery of European civilization.
Ladies and gentlemen, if we create a place of remembrance, commemoration, but also meeting, then we will remember the suffering of the Polish people and also what people are capable of. But we also remember what resistance was possible in those years, the courage of the Polish Home Army, the resistance fighters in Warsaw. We remember people like Witold Pilecki, a Polish officer who, by the way, was the only known person who voluntarily went to Auschwitz as a prisoner. He managed to escape and he informed the Western Allies of what had happened there. We also remember such people.
We remember Poles who gave their Jewish fellow citizens protection from certain death and stood up for it with their own lives and with the lives of their families. We remind you that by people like Witold Pilecki and many others in the darkest hours of European history the light of humanity was saved from being completely extinguished; we want to do that.
Some have said: We are doing it for the Poles to create such a place in Germany. – No, we are also doing it for the Poles, we are also doing it for ourselves, but we are doing it above all for the young people in Europe and in the world to remind them of this.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and the SPD as well as from MPs of the BÜNDNISSES 90 / DIE GRÜNEN and MP Katharina Willkomm [FDP])
We not only have a common border with Poland, but we have a common history with Poland. The history of our two countries cannot be thought and described without the history of the other country being also written.
Ladies and gentlemen, when John Paul II walked through the Brandenburg Gate with Helmut Kohl in 1996, he is said to have said to his companions: Now the Second World War is really over. – Because the war started on German soil, and Germany paid a price for this criminal war. But Germany wasn’t the only country with that. For Poland, this was not followed by freedom, but a new bondage that only really ended in 1989.
We want to create this place because we want to give something to the younger generation. Today many things may be taken for granted, especially for us younger people. Both of my grandfathers were soldiers, Polish soldiers in World War II. You died before I became a member of the German Bundestag. But I believe that if you would see – I am a devout Christian, that’s why I believe that you will – that today Germany and Poland are united by friendship and good neighborliness, and that your grandson as a German MP, as the representative of a free and democratic Germany here working and speaking as a member of this Reichstag, then they would be happy.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU and the SPD as well as from members of the FDP and the BÜNDNISSES 90 / DIE GRÜNEN)
I also want to convey to my children with their identity, which always has this connection to both countries, that this is not a given. We owe it to the younger generation because we are responsible for what happens to history, ladies and gentlemen. I therefore ask you on behalf of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group to approve the motion.
Thank you very much.
(Applause from the CDU / CSU, the SPD and the BÜNDNIS 90 / DIE GRÜNEN – Christian Schmidt [Fürth] [CDU / CSU]: An important speech!)
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.