Germany reveals plans for new memorial centre to commemorate Poland’s WWII victims
The German government has revealed plans for a "German-Polish House" in Berlin, to act as a memorial to Polish victims of World War II.
As Poland commemorates the 81st anniversary of the outbreak of WWII, the German government said the new ‘German-Polish House’ would also act as a reminder of historical ties between the two countries before the war.
German Culture Minister Claudia Roth said: "The planned German-Polish House will commemorate Poland’s suffering between 1939 and 1945, and the violent deaths of more than 5 million Polish citizens, including some 3 million Jewish children, women and men.
"The knowledge about the suffering of the Poles under German occupation, the knowledge about the millions killed, murdered, is far too often missing in Germany and in Europe, especially also among the younger generation.
“But precisely this knowledge is the prerequisite for developing an emphatic, dignified remembrance of the victims.”
It is estimated that around six million Polish citizens (approximately 17 percent of the population) died as a result of the war.
German forces also plundered and destroyed many of Poland’s cities, including the capital Warsaw which saw around 80 percent of its buildings razed to the ground.
The new initiative which was approved by the German parliament three years ago called on the government to "create a place in a prominent location in Berlin that, in the context of the special German-Polish relationship, is dedicated to the Polish victims of World War II and the Nazi occupation of Poland.”
On Tuesday the German culture minster suggested the site of the former Kroll Opera near the German Reichstag parliament building and the Chancellery could be a possible location.
The Kroll Opera was where Hitler gave his speech announcing Germany's attack on Poland on Sept. 1, 1939.
Dariusz Pawlos Poland's ambassador in Germany said: “Poland would study the key points of the concept for the German-Polish House carefully.
“We offer our support, our help, our open-mindedness.
“Poland hopes the documentation centre will be realised quickly.”