Warsaw (dpa) – Chancellor candidate Armin Laschet traveled to Poland to commemorate the victims of National Socialist tyranny. He attended a state ceremony and service Saturday night at the monument to the Warsaw Uprising that broke out 77 years ago.
Brave women and men had resisted Nazi barbarity and occupation of Poland, Laschet said shortly before at the memorial of the Little Insurrectionist in front of the city wall in Warsaw’s Old Town.
“Many in Germany do not know what the Polish civilian population suffered before this uprising, during this uprising and especially after,” said the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia. He thinks it is important that this subject is taught at school in Germany.
On August 1, 1944, the Polish Home Army – the Armia Krajowa – revolted against the German occupation forces. The uprising was suppressed within two months and Warsaw was almost completely destroyed. More than 16,000 insurgent fighters and 150,000 to 200,000 civilians were killed.
At the start of his journey, Laschet visited the headquarters of the state fire brigade to thank them for their help in dealing with the most recent severe weather disaster in West Germany. The Polish government had sent an aid team with more than 150 construction dryers to North Rhine-Westphalia. “That moved us very much,” Laschet said, speaking of a sign of practical solidarity in Europe. The drying equipment has become scarce in the flood areas.
On Sunday, 77 years after the start of the uprising, Laschet lays a wreath for the victims in Warsaw at the cemetery. As every year, life in the Polish capital comes to a standstill at 5 pm. At that point, the insurgents had begun their struggle in vain hopes of liberating the city on the Vistula under their own power.
During his trip, Laschet also commented on currently controversial points in mutual relations. In an interview with the newspaper “Rzeczpospolita” he rejected Polish claims for reparations for the occupation. “It doesn’t help much to politically instrumentalize these questions repeatedly.”
Regarding the dispute between Brussels and Warsaw over judicial reforms, Laschet said it was good to “ensure compliance with European law everywhere”. After speaking with President Andrzej Duda, he spoke out in favor of finding a common path here. Laschet stressed: “The future of the European Union cannot be shaped without Poland.”