One of the most infamous Nazi concentration camps of World War II, Poland's Birkenau extermination camp at Auschwitz, where four million people dies, was yesterday (Sunday) visited by West German foreign Minister Walter Scheal.
One of the most infamous Nazi concentration camps of World War II, Poland's Birkenau extermination camp at Auschwitz, where four million people dies, was yesterday (Sunday) visited by West German foreign Minister Walter Scheal. The following day (Monday), Herr Scheel met with a former inmate of Auschwitz, Poland's Prime Minister Josef Cyrankiewicz.
Herr Scheel is the first Bonn Cabinet Minister to visit the dreaded extermination centre. and after laying wreaths at the Memorial Monument, he was taken on a guided tour of the camp by former inmate Kazimierz Smolen, the Director of the Camp Museum.
The German Minister is reported to have been uncharacteristically silent and morose during the visit, repeating "Terrible, terrible" often during the tour which took him from the wall against which many of the prisoners were shot to the fences electrified to prevent escapes.
The camp has been kept exactly as it was at the time of the Nazi retreat before the Soviets in January, 1945. Herr Scheel wrote in the visitors' book: "Because of this horror, this inhumanity, it will be our task to preserve these highest values: dignity of man, peace among people."
At the Foksal Palace in Warsaw the following day, Herr Scheel resumed talks with his Polish counterpart Stefan Jedrichowski on the question of the post-War German Polish border. The week-long talks between the two Foreign Ministers are reported to have been most satisfactory and well on the way to finding a solution to the problems which have so long divided the two countries.
Later that same afternoon, Herr Scheel went to the Polish Council of Ministers for a meeting with Prime Minister Jozef Cyrankiewicz-himself ex-prisoner No. 62933 of Auschwitz prison. Although no official statement was made of the talks between Herr Scheel and the Polish Prime Minister, observers report that the fact of the meeting in itself was an important sign that the talks were progressing favourable, and that it was very likely that the West German statesman was carrying home a message inviting Chancellor Willy Brandt to visit Poland when the negotiations are completed.