The Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, visited the former German concentration camp ‘Auschwitz-Birkenau’ today, accompanied by the Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki. This was Merkel’s first visit in this place during her 14 years long term of office.
During celebrations concerning the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Auchwitz-Birkenau Foundation, the former prisoner of the German concentration camp, Bogdan Bartnikowski, gave a testimony about what was happening in the camp during war: “I was 12 back then. I had to take off all of my clothes in front of a crowd of women. My mother was standing next to me. I didn’t know what to do with my eyes, I didn’t know where to look. We were sitting naked the entire night. I wanted to sit close to my mother, but on the other hand I didn’t want anyone to touch me”.
This was the first visit of the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel in Auschwitz even though she has been in office for 14 years and it’s not her first time in Poland. Today, Merkel spoke about why it is so important to remember what was happening in the former Nazi concentration camp: “We shouldn’t say anything about what was happening to women and children here, simply because there are no words that could describe the pain. We have to remember about crimes and call them by their names, because what was happening here is really hard for us to grasp. Crimes of people, experiments on people… Auschwitz symbolises the pain of Poles and many others (…) Auschwitz is in Poland (today’s Poland – editor’s note), but in 1939 was annexed as part of the German Reich. Auschwitz is a German death camp managed by Germans, it is important to emphasise this, it is important to clearly identify the perpetrators”.
Germany will give 60 million euro to support the Auschwitz-Birkenau foundation. As they claim, it is their obligation to take ‘historic responsibility’ and take care of this place. Although, the matter of war reparations is still an open case.
Angela Merkel is the third Chancellor who visited Auschwitz-Birkenau. Chancellor Helmut Schmidt visited the former German concentration camp in 1977 and Chancellor Helmut Kohl in the years 1989 and 1955.
Source: Poland Daily