PM Morawiecki praises Germany not forgetting WWII crimes in Poland

Łukasz Gągulski/PAP

It is important that German authorities have not forgotten the crimes committed by Nazi Germany on Polish territory during WWII, PM Mateusz Morawiecki said, referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to the former Nazi German death camp Auschwitz.

Merkel and Morawiecki visited Auschwitz on Friday as the two heads of government marked the 10th anniversary of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation that works to preserve all that remained of the original concentration camp.

In a Facebook post, Morawiecki referred to Merkel's first visit to Auschwitz. "It's important that the authorities of the Federal Republic of Germany have not forgotten the crimes committed on the occupied territory of Poland during World War II."

Morawiecki also said Merkel's visit was "important and symbolic" for the new generation of Germans.

The Friday ceremony at Auschwitz was also attended by three former camp prisoners, who met with the German chancellor afterwards. Other attendees included Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, and Romani Rose, head of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma.

Angela Merkel was the third German chancellor, after Helmut Schmidt and Helmut Kohl, to visit Auschwitz.

The Germans established the Auschwitz camp in 1940, initially for the imprisonment of Poles. Auschwitz II-Birkenau was established two years later and became the main site for the mass extermination of Jews. There was also a network of sub-camps in the complex. The Germans killed at least 1.1 million people at Auschwitz, mainly Jews, but also Poles, Roma and Soviet prisoners of war.

The camp was liberated by the Red Army on January 27, 1945. In 1947, the camp site was declared a national memorial site.