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    German President Expresses ‘Deep Shame’ during 80th Anniversary of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

    The German president has admitted to feeling a “deep shame” regarding the atrocities inflicted by Nazi Germany on Jews during World War Two as he commemorated the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

    On Wednesday, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German Federal President, travelled to Warsaw, Poland to join his Polish and Israeli colleagues, Andrzej Duda and Isaac Herzog, in honouring the anniversary of the uprising.

    At the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes, located in the former ghetto district, Federal President Steinmeier said, “It is difficult yet necessary for me, as a German, to be here in my capacity as the federal president of Germany.”

    “The horrible crimes that Germans committed here fill me with deep shame,” he said. “At the same time, I’m full of gratitude and humility that I can take part in these ceremonies as the head of the German state.

    “As German federal president, I stand before you today and bow to the courageous fighters in the Warsaw ghetto,” Steinmeier said. “I bow to the dead in deep sorrow.”

    Steinmeier went on to thank Poland and Israel for what he called a “miracle of reconciliation”.

    “Dear President Duda, dear President Herzog, many people in your two countries, in Poland and in Israel, have granted us Germans reconciliation despite these crimes,” he said.

    “You in Poland, you in Israel, you know from your history that freedom and independence must be fought for and defended. You know how important it is for a democracy to defend itself,” he said.

    “But we Germans have also learned the lessons of our history,” he continued. “‘Never again’ means that there must be no criminal war of aggression like Russia’s against Ukraine in Europe.”

    A daring act of resistance against Nazi Germany’s formidable army arose on April 19, 1943, when a few hundred Jews armed with light arms courageously took a stand to prevent deportations to death camps.

    It cost the lives of about 6,000 insurgents and ended on May 8, 1943. What remained of the Warsaw ghetto was razed to the ground by German troops.

    At its highest, the population of the Warsaw ghetto was 400,000 Polish Jews. On July 22, 1942, the first round of deportations from the ghetto to Treblinka commenced and ended on September 12th. During this time, an estimated 300,000 Polish Jews perished.


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