Germany reveals plans for national memorial to remember Polish Jews who died in Holocaust

The memorial will also be dedicated to other Polish victims of World War II and the Nazi occupation of Poland


1943: Fire breaks out during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, a Polish insurrection against the German forces who had occupied Poland at the start of World War II. By 1944 Warsaw was the centre of Polish resistance, but the army was forced to surrender on October 2nd 1944 under pressure from German air raids. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Germany will construct a "German-Polish House" in Berlin to serve as a national memorial to commemorate three million Polish Jews who died in the Holocaust

The planned memorial and museum will also commemorate two million other Polish citizens who died during World War II and detail Nazi Germany's brutal occupation of its neighbour between 1939 and 1945.

It is also intended to inform visitors about the past and be a space for encounters between Germans, Poles and others.

The planned attraction will show everyday life under Germany's "six years of occupation terror" and the Polish citizens' armed resistance, including the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising by Jews in 1943 and the Warsaw Uprising in 1944.

The new development was announced by German Culture Minister Claudia Roth on Monday. The Culture Ministry said it would become a memorial with a "striking artistic element."

She said: “The planned German-Polish House will commemorate Poland's suffering between 1939 and 1945, and the violent deaths of more than 5 million Polish citizens, including some 3 million Jewish children, women and men.”

Roth said the planned memorial is expected to be located at the former Kroll Opera, near the German Reichstag parliament building.

The Kroll Opera was used as a temporary seat for the Nazi parliament after the Reichstag burned down a month after Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933. It was there that Hitler gave his speech announcing Germany's attack on Poland on September 1, 1939.

The plans were first suggested three years ago by the German Parliament in a resolution approved by most political parties. 

The resolution called on the German government to "create a place in a prominent location in Berlin that, in the context of the special German-Polish relationship, is dedicated to the Polish victims of World War II and the Nazi occupation of Poland."

The development will also include themes that touch directly or indirectly on those years such as forced labour, war captivity, deportations and flight. 

Several parts of it will be dedicated to the Soviet occupation and Germany's loss of its eastern territories after the war, German news agency dpa reported.

It will also highlight earlier centuries and the present-day relationship between the two countries, which has been characterised by inequalities.

The planning and building of the German-Polish House will take several years, officials said.

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