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Steinbach forgoes board spot on German-Polish memorial project

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Steinbach forgoes board spot on German-Polish memorial project
Photo: DPA
08:06 CET+01:00
After weeks of controversy, conservative politician Erika Steinbach has withdrawn her candidacy to become a board member of a German-Polish foundation aiming to create a memorial for WWII refugees in Berlin.

The head of the Federation of Expellees (BdV), which represents Germans who fled or were expelled from their homes in parts Eastern Europe during and after the war, wanted to have a key role in the project. But the she is highly unpopular in Poland, where her group has been associated with the Nazi occupation.

But both German and Polish politicians have roundly rejected her participation, and last week Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk even asked German Chancellor Angela Merkel not to include Steinbach on the project.

Some German officials also said that if Steinbach was made part of the board, it would create fears in Poland that her controversial pet project to create a centre against expulsion in Berlin would go forward.

In a statement on the BdV website on Wednesday, the organisation said it did not want to be the “cheap excuse” for hindering the final steps of the memorial.

“We want to dissolve the blockades that we didn't create,” the statement said, adding that the BdV hopes the German government will aid them in their endeavor to move ahead with the memorial.

However, the BdV said it will not nominate anyone in Steinbach's place to join the board of the foundation to register the group's protest at how she has been treated.

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