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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Deutschland –

Source: CDU CSU

Dear Mr President! Dear Colleagues! 25 years ago, in April 1995, the German Bundestag commemorated the end of the Second World War. The speech on that 50th anniversary was given by a Pole. It sent out an important signal because Poland was the first victim of World War II and because Nazi Germany committed horrific crimes on Polish soil. Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, ladies and gentlemen, who spoke here as Polish Foreign Minister in 1995, suffered like so many Poles from the German war and the National Socialist occupation. And yet he closed his impressive speech before the German Bundestag with conciliatory, forward-looking words, which I quote with the permission of the President:

Commemoration and historical reflection must accompany our relationships. However, you should not be the main motivation for this, but prepare the way for the current and future motivations.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is exactly what this is about today: a look into the future, to strengthen our relationships – but both with full awareness of the difficult, painful past. We must be aware that the majority of Poles still feel that Germany is not showing enough appreciation for the suffering that Nazi Germany inflicted on Poland, while conversely a large number of Germans do not know that practically every Polish family is affected by this indescribable horror was. We want to close this gap in memory now.

Why is a separate place of remembrance and encounter necessary for this? Because an anti-Polish policy was pursued from this soil for centuries, because the existence of a Polish state was to be prevented from this soil for centuries and because this was at the expense of the Polish population for centuries. And that is precisely why we now need a place to strengthen our memory of it and to further consolidate the partnership that is so important for us and Europe.

Ladies and gentlemen, this place of remembrance and meeting is not a fulfillment of duty. This place is an important gesture. It is an invitation to Germans and Poles to build bridges into the future over the wounds of the past. I want to underline: this place is more important than current political debates.

(Applause from the CDU / CSU as well as from MPs of the SPD and the BÜNDNISSES 90 / DIE GRÜNEN)

And it is necessary precisely because we live in times when nationalism and demarcation are breaking out again in Europe.

(Applause from members of the CDU / CSU)

I am pleased when as many as possible in this House can agree to the coalition’s proposal.

Thank you very much.

(Applause from the CDU / CSU as well as from MPs of the SPD and MP Manuel Sarrazin [BÜNDNIS 90 / DIE GRÜNEN])


EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and / or sentence structure not be perfect.

MIL Translation OSI