Officials discuss plan to remember Germans driven from homes after WWII

Polish and German officials meet Tuesday to discuss a touchy issue that has strained ties for years.

swastika 88 (photo credit: )
swastika 88
(photo credit: )
Polish and German officials meet on Tuesday to discuss a touchy issue that has strained ties for years - whether and how to commemorate the suffering of Germans driven from their homes in Eastern Europe at the end of World War II. Germany's culture minister, Bernd Neumann, was meeting in Warsaw with Wladyslaw Bartoszewski, 85, an Auschwitz survivor and former foreign minister who is a key adviser to the Polish government on relations with Germany. Neumann aims to persuade Poland to accept, and ideally cooperate in, a German plan for a Berlin-based center that would document the fate of ethnic Germans and others driven from their homes in the aftermath of the war. After the conflict, borders were redrawn by the victorious Allies and millions of Germans were expelled from their homes by Poles, Czechs and others. Plans for a museum in Berlin have stoked widespread anger in Poland, where many view it as a German attempt to commemorate war-era Germans that would amount to turning perpetrators into victims. Germany subjected Poland to a brutal occupation during the war, killing 6 million Poles, half of them Jewish. Polish and German officials have said little ahead of the meeting. Bartoszewski, however, told the Polish news agency PAP on Monday that Poland would show goodwill to Germany over the issue and expected the same goodwill from Berlin. The government of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk opposes the German plan. Soon after taking office in November, Tusk proposed instead building a museum in Gdansk, in northern Poland, where the war began.