German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, has asked the Polish people for forgiveness for the atrocities their country suffered during World War II, in a speech to mark the ill-fated Warsaw uprising 75 years ago.
“I came here because I honour the dead and the families of the dead and wounded because I want to ask the Polish people for forgiveness,’’ Maas said in Warsaw.
“I am ashamed of what was done to your country by Germans and in the German name.’’
Germany bears responsibility for this horror, Maas added and spoke of his shame that the Nazis’ brutal quelling of the insurrection “was concealed for too long after the war’’.
In the years following the war, it was often the Poles, who offered their hand in reconciliation, the minister said, referring to a 1965 letter of Polish bishops to German bishops, in which the Poles said, “we forgive and ask for forgiveness’’.
In another development, Germany should establish a quota for taking in Yezidis persecuted by Islamic State, the state premier of Baden-Wuerttemberg said on Thursday.
Speaking in the state capital of Stuttgart, Winfried Kretschmann of the Greens said Baden-Wuerttemberg would be happy to offer its expertise gained by taking in around 1,000 Yezidi women and children since 2015.
“We have pushed in Berlin for the federal government to set up a quota.
“I believe that there are good prospects. We certainly have very prominent advocates,” Kretschmann said.
The states of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein have also taken in smaller numbers of Yezidis since Islamic State militants surrounded the community in their home on Sinjar Mountain in northern Iraq in August 2014.
Thousands of women and children were captured and enslaved, while men were summarily killed.
“Looking after these people, is extremely cost-intensive.
“They are practically all traumatised on account of the terrible things they experienced,’’ Kretschmann said.
Among the Yezidis taken in by the state was 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Nadia Murad.
On Tuesday, a court in north-western Germany denied asylum to a Yezidi man from Iraq and his sister, saying that they were no longer being persecuted in their home in northern Iraq.
The court said that since the Islamic State militants had been pushed out of the Yezidi homeland around Mount Sinjar, it was no longer “sufficiently probable” that they would be persecuted there.
Germany is home today to one of the largest Yezidi communities in the world.
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