Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (31 July) prior to his visit to Warsaw:
My visit to Warsaw and attendance at the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising is a sign of particular trust, for which I am very grateful to the Polish Government. In destroying Warsaw almost completely and killing some 200,000 Poles, Germany unleashed appalling suffering on its neighbour during the suppression of the Warsaw Uprising. The resilience and the courage with which Poland stood up to the German occupation in 1944 is a testament to an overwhelming desire for freedom and self‑determination. Poland, and especially Warsaw, rebuilt itself after the war under its own steam, a fact that inspires great respect and humility in me.
Today, Poland and Germany are united by a profound friendship and partnership, and we have many shared plans for the future. Specifically, we have set up the joint programme, “menschen gedenken” (remembering people), in which German and Polish pupils will work together to trace the fates of victims of German war crimes in Poland and of Holocaust victims and to document the past. The aim is for young Poles and Germans to get to know each other better so that German‑Polish friendship can continue to grow in the future while keeping memory of the past alive.