• Germany's news in English
Grow a thicker skin, Germany tells Poland
The carnival float was placed on display in Düsseldorf despite the parade being cancelled due to high winds. Photo: DPA

Grow a thicker skin, Germany tells Poland

DPA/The Local · 10 Feb 2016, 14:48

Published: 10 Feb 2016 14:48 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

It's a potent image, especially for a group of Germans to make about their neighbours to the East.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the Law and Justice Party, dressed as a preening military dictator, places his booted foot on the head of a prostrate woman labelled "Poland".

And while the carnival parade in the North Rhine-Westphalia capital was cancelled due to storm warnings this year, images of the carnival float diorama have gone around the world.

It's been the latest sting to relations between Berlin and Warsaw following the Law and Justice Party's victory in 2015 parliamentary elections.

The new government has already rejected German criticisms of reforms to its public broadcaster and constitutional court – which are currently the subject of an EU investigation into whether they breach democratic norms.

And foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski lost no time in complaining about the latest perceived slight.

"We will draw attention to this in a diplomatic way and ask our partners in Germany what the point of this is," Waszczykowski declared on Tuesday on Polish radio.

He believed that the float represented "contempt for Poland and for Polish politicians".

But Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman rejected Waszczykowski's blustering when asked about it at a weekly press conference on Wednesday.

Story continues below…

"In Germany, we have freedom of opinion, freedom of art," Steffen Seibert told journalists in Berlin – whether or not that might be "less comfortable" for the people depicted.

A spokesman for the Düsseldorf Carnival Committee would not comment on the diplomatic row when contacted by The Local, but said that satire was an important part of the event.

SEE ALSO: Germany to be scolded for "anti-Polish" remarks

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
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
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd