German conservative chancellor candidate Armin Laschet was in Warsaw on Sunday to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the Polish uprising against the Nazi occupation.
German forces brutally crushed the resistance efforts in 1944, leaving between 150,000 and 200,000 civilians dead.
Laschet paid tribute to the tens of thousands of people who died in the Warsaw Uprising
“This is a very special place on a very special day, where one reflects on the atrocities committed by the Germans,” Laschet said at a museum dedicated to Poles who died in the uprising.
“You can only learn from history to prevent something like this from happening again,” he added.
Laschet met with veterans of the Warsaw resistance, such as 94-year-old Wanda Traczyk-Stawska, during the visit.
Laschet also met with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, and called for a “pragmatic” solution to the conflict between the EU and Poland over the country’s judicial reforms.
A day earlier, Laschet visited a monument to children in Warsaw who died in the city’s uprising.
Laschet emphasized the importance of democratic values during his meeting with Poland’s prime minister
Laschet told a Polish newspaper that Nazi Germany’s crimes against Poland during World War II fill with him “deep shame and humility.”
The conservative politician, who is premier of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the favorite in the race for German chancellor, said his country has a “responsibility” for Poland.
“Germany must always be aware of its historical responsibility for Poland’s freedom and independence,” he told the daily Rzeczpospolita newspaper.
At the same time, Laschet said he does not support reparations for Poland, an idea that has been floated by members of the country’s right-wing governing Law and Justice party.
The Warsaw Uprising took place from August to October, 1944. It was an attempt by the Polish resistance, known as the Home Army, to take back the Nazi-occupied capital before the advancing Soviet Red Army could captured the area.
Although the resistance fighters initially managed to take control of most of the city, the lack of outside support, along with German reinforcements, caused the effort to ultimately fail.
Approximately 10,000 resistance fighters and up to 200,000 Warsaw residents were killed during the 63-day uprising. Thousands of civilians in the destroyed city were expelled and sent to Nazi-run concentration camps.
“The Pianist” by director Roman Polanski tells a poignant story of Polish-Jewish pianist and composer Wladyslaw Szpilman, who survived life in the Warsaw Ghetto thanks to the help of a German officer. He is portrayed by Adrien Brody in the movie. The Ghetto Uprising serves as a turning point in the narrative. Polanski’s own mother died in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
The filming of “The Pianist” took place in Berlin at the Babelsberg studios. Roman Polanski had the set created using a historical template that reconstructed the look of the Warsaw Ghetto, where the Nazis had rounded up and interned the Jewish inhabitants of the city. Polanski similarly experienced this as a child, but in the Krakow Ghetto.
In this documentary about the life of the French-Polish filmmaker, “Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir,” directed by Laurent Bouzereau, Polanski divulges his life’s story in highly personal interviews with his friend, producer Andrew Braunsberg. In it, he speaks of life as a young child in the Krakow Ghetto and his mother’s deportation to Auschwitz.
Janusz Korczak was a doctor and the director of a Jewish orphanage in Warsaw, who was transferred to the ghetto in 1940. When the SS evacuated the ghetto in 1942, soldiers drove 200 orphans to the station for deportation; Korczak refused to leave them and boarded the train to the extermination camp Treblinka with his children. In “Korczak,” Andrzej Wajda (above) re-staged the dramatic story.
Written by Jewish writer Jurek Becker, the book “Jacob the Liar” was made into a tragi-comic film by director Frank Beyer. In it, he gave a face to the victims of the persecution of the Jews in Poland. Jacob was played by the Czechoslovakian playwright Vlastimil Brodsky (above). The film takes place in 1944, in a ghetto in Poland, shortly before its liberation by the Red Army.
German director Pepe Danquart turned the novel “Run, Boy, Run” into a historical political drama. The film follows Srulik, a small Jewish boy, who has managed to flee the Warsaw Ghetto just in time. To escape the Nazis and the guards, the nine-year-old flees into the nearby forest, where he has to learn to be on his own and survive in the wild.
The life story of literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki, a Jew in Poland who was deported at the age of 18, was filmed in 2009 by the director Dror Zahavi for television. Together with his wife Teofila, Reich-Ranicki barely survived the Warsaw Ghetto. The young Marcel is played by actor Matthias Schweighöfer and Katharina Schüttler (right) portrays his wife, Teofila.
wd/nm (AP, dpa)