In the future, a “place of remembrance and encounter” in Berlin will present the suffering of Poles during the Second World War.

On the one hand, it is intended to keep alive the memory of the crimes committed by the Wehrmacht and henchmen of National Socialist Germany during the occupation of Poland.

On the other hand, the place should also serve as a place to meet and impart knowledge.

A year ago, the Bundestag commissioned the federal government to develop a concept for such a central location.

It has now been submitted by the Foreign Office.

Johannes Leithäuser

Political correspondent in Berlin.

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The concept was developed in cooperation between German and Polish members of a commission chaired by the former German ambassador in Warsaw, Rolf Nikel.

A memorial is planned for the place of remembrance, which is to be located either south of the Chancellery, on the site of the former Kroll Opera, or on Askanischer Platz near the former Anhalter Bahnhof.

In the recommendations of the commission it is said that the central memorial should "offer the possibility to bow before all victims of the Republic of Poland in World War II and by the German occupation in Poland".

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) said on the occasion of the submission of the recommendations that the German occupiers wanted to "wipe Poland off the map forever" by destroying entire cities, relocating and mass murdering. However, the suffering of the Polish civilian population was "for a long time only a fragment in the German memory of the Second World War". According to the recommendations of the commission, the monument should be supplemented by a place for permanent and temporary exhibitions as well as rooms for events and educational work.

The Commission has also made proposals for the next steps. The speedy realization of the memorial site should be anchored in a passage in the coalition agreement of the next federal government. The foundation stone for the project should be laid within the next legislative period by 2025 at the latest.