• Germany's news in English

Polish prime minister calls on Merkel to drop Steinbach

DDP/The Local · 27 Feb 2009, 16:00

Published: 27 Feb 2009 16:00 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Tusks statements indicated an intense Polish dislike for Erika Steinbach, head of the Federation of Expellees (BdV), which represents Germans who fled or were expelled from their homes in Eastern Europe as a result of World War II. Many Polish associate Steinbach and the BdV are associated with Nazism and the German occupation.

Tusk said her appointment to the board would “painfully touch our Polish sensitivity about the truth of World War II.”

While acknowledging that the decision is up to the German government, Tusk asked that Polish sensibilities be taken into account. “I have always used my authority to promote good German-Polish relations,” emphasised Tusk, saying he believed this justified his decision “to offer his honest and authentic assessment.”

Merkel meanwhile reiterated her intention to take her time in appointing the board. She said the government was on its way to creating a visible symbol against forced expulsion in the spirit of reconciliation. “This spirit must also be expressed in the final stages of the appointment. This will take a few days and today’s meeting with the prime minister will not change that,” she said.

Angelica Schwall-Düren, deputy head of the parliamentary group of the centre-left Social Democrat Party (SPD), expressed understanding for Poland’s reservations about Steinbach, pointing out that in 1991 she had voted against recognising the post-war border between Germany and Poland. According to Schwall-Düren, Steinbach shows little understanding of the Polish war trauma, and has taken a “revenge-based” approach to the recognition of facts.

In the current debate around the memory of German war-expellees, Schwall-Düren believes that the Polish government has done much to recognise the German side, taking a neutral position on the proposed foundation, and removing anti-German factions from the government in Warsaw. She called on Merkel to do likewise.

Story continues below…

For their part, members of the centre-right Christian Democrat party (CDU), which Merkel leads, criticised the SPD for stirring Polish sentiment against Steinbach. Schwall-Düren’s counterpart in the CDU, Wolfgang Bosbach, singled out the SPD party member and Foreign Minister Frank Steinmeier, saying, “It should be the foreign minister’s duty to convince our Polish neighbours that Erika Steinbach would be a good representative of the Federation of Expellees in the foundation. Instead, he is doing the exact opposite, and is damaging the interests of the refugees, but German-Polish relations too.”

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd