Hundreds of German MPs support monument to Polish WWII victims in Berlin

The head of the German Lower House (Bundestag) Wolfgang Schäuble and 240 MPs voiced his support for the construction of the monument to Polish WWII victims in Berlin.

“Such a monument will encourage a more profound reflection over the suffering of Poles under German occupation and the national-socialist terror,” Mr Schäuble told Germany’s “Süddeutsche Zeitung” daily.

The Bundestag head maintains that the monument would contribute to a better understanding of the Polish outlook on the challenges in Europe of today – the outlook that is influenced by the WWII experience. According to Mr Schäuble, the monument is meant to bring attention to the shared future of both nations.

Within the Bundestag, as many as 240 out of 709 MPs originating from all of the represented parties with the exception for the national-conservative Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) supported the idea.

Despite the visible support from some politician figures, the idea met with a dose of scepticism. For instance, Markus Meckel, a politician of the SPD party, spoke against the proposed construction of the memorial of Polish victims of WWII, favouring an education centre instead.

The German “Die Welt” daily’s Sven Felix Kellerhoff pointed out that Berlin already has a monument to Polish WWII victims dating back to 1972. Known as “the Memorial to Polish Soldiers and German Anti-Fascists”, the monument was decommunised in 1995.

Given the old memorial’s existence, Mr Kellerhoff is a staunch opponent of building another one also supporting his stance with a claim that the Polish government of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party “spreads the propaganda of anti-German resentments” and demanded WWII reparations despite the fact that “from the point of view of international law, this matter was settled a long time ago”.

Florian Mausbach, retired head of the German Federal Office of Construction and Spatial Development initiated the process for erecting the monument in 2017. He proposed locating it on Askanischer Platz in central Berlin.