German FM regrets wartime destruction of Warsaw

German and Polish Foreign Ministers at a meeting with Polish and German youth at the Warsaw Uprising Museum. Paweł Supernak/PAP

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, in Warsaw, at Thursday commemorations of the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising against Poland’s Nazi German occupiers, asked the Polish nation forgiveness for what Germans did to Poland.

Germany is responsible for this cruelty, the destruction of Warsaw was a conscious blow set to destroy everything that contributes to Polish identity, Maas said at a meeting with Polish and German youth at the Warsaw Uprising Museum, which he held together with Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz.

"I would like to ask the families of those who were killed and wounded, I would like to ask the Polish nation for forgiveness, I am ashamed for what the Germans, acting on behalf of Germany, did to Poland," the German official said, adding that he is also "ashamed that Germany's guilt was too long hushed up after the war," he added.

He also said that "more moving is that after the war Poles often reached out their hands in a conciliatory gesture".

"It is not only to the victims that we owe an honest squaring of accounts with the past and facing it, we owe it to ourselves, because only common memory leads towards a common future," Maas said.

He added that too little attention has been devoted to the Warsaw Uprising in Germany hence the German authorities had decided to promote this knowledge.