German EUSTORY Prizewinners Attend Commemoration Ceremony in Poland
On the 80th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier attended the central commemoration ceremony in Warsaw. Three prizewinners of the German History Competition ("Enough Is Enough - Crisis, Change, a New Beginning") whose works addressed the consequences of the WWII for their local and family history, accompanied him.
In the early morning hours of 1 September, the German president and his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda attended a commemorative event in the small town of Wieluń which had been heavily bombarded by the German Air Force on that day 80 years ago.
Participation in the commemoration hour in Wieluń will stay forever in the memory of Christine Kudrawzew, one of the German prizewinners. "The ceremony was very impressive. Hearing the air raid sirens around 4:40 a.m. gave me a kind of realistic feeling of war, which makes me afraid. At the same time it left me with a feeling of guilt, even though my ancestors did not fight on the German side", Christine said.
Lukas Stoy’s grandmother had to flee from Bukovina after the beginning of the war. For his research, the high school graduate spoke with her and other relatives about the background of the flight and the consequences for the family. "With regard to my work, I realised that not only my family, but the whole of Europe suffered flight, expulsion and deportation because of Hitler's Germany. Especially in Poland, where my family had been settled after fleeing from Bukovina", he stated upon his return from Poland.
Speaking in the capital Warsaw, President Steinmeier mentioned the importance of remembering: "No, the past is not dead. On the contrary, the longer ago this war was, the more important it is to remember. A war is over when the weapons are silent. But its consequences are an inheritance for generations."
Lukas concluded: "The most important thing I take with me from this journey is that what happened is not forgotten - the infinite suffering that many people had to endure is not concealed, but recalled again and again."