Unions Chancellor candidate Armin Laschet traveled to Poland to commemorate the victims of Nazi tyranny. He attended a state ceremony and service on Saturday evening at the monument to the Warsaw Uprising that broke out 77 years ago. Courageous women and men had opposed the Nazi barbarism and the occupation of Poland, said Laschet shortly before at the memorial of the Little Insurgent in front of the city wall in Warsaw’s old town.
“Many in Germany do not know what the Polish civilian population had to suffer before this uprising, during this uprising and especially after it,” said the North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister. He thinks it is important that this topic is taught in school classes in Germany.
On August 1, 1944, the Polish Home Army – the Armia Krajowa – rose up 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 beginning of his trip, 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 western Germany. The Polish government had sent an aid team with more than 150 construction dryers to North Rhine-Westphalia. “That moved us very much,” said Laschet, speaking of a sign of practical solidarity in Europe. The drying devices have become in short supply in the flood areas.
On Sunday, 77 years after the start of the uprising, Laschet will lay a wreath for the victims in Warsaw at the cemetery. As every year, life in the Polish capital will stand still for a moment at 5 p.m. At this point in time, the insurgents had started their struggle in the futile hope of liberating the city on the Vistula on their own.
During his trip, Laschet also commented on currently controversial points in mutual relationships. In an interview with the newspaper “Rzeczpospolita”, he rejected Polish claims for reparations for the occupation. “It doesn’t help much to repeatedly instrumentalize these questions politically.”
Regarding the dispute between Brussels and Warsaw over judicial reforms, Laschet said it was right to “ensure compliance with European law everywhere”. After a conversation with President Andrzej Duda, he spoke out in favor of finding a common path here. Laschet said: “The future of the European Union cannot be shaped without Poland.”