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Last Updated: Monday, 2 August, 2004, 13:48 GMT 14:48 UK
Press emotion at Warsaw anniversary
A survivor of the uprising salutes in front of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
Polish papers welcomed the German chancellor's presence

Polish papers reflect on the 60th anniversary the Warsaw uprising with much emotion as well as satisfaction that at long last the tragedy has been justly remembered.

In Germany there is praise for Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's commemorative speech, but also disappointment that his words did not go far enough.

"The anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising has never before been marked on such a scale," says national daily Rzeczpospolita.

"For three days the capital lived with its memories of the events of 1944. You could feel the atmosphere of the uprising everywhere."

The paper says the presence of Gerhard Schroeder, the first German chancellor ever to attend, was eagerly awaited.

"When Chancellor Schroeder approached the monument to those who died there were cheers, but also some jeering," the paper notes.


The popular Gazeta Wyborcza leads with comments made by Mr Schroeder.

"After 60 years of waiting, the Warsaw insurgents have finally got their own museum and world recognition," the paper says.

Insurgents, having survived the German onslaught, did not live to see this moment
Nasz Dziennik

"And at the site of Polish glory and German shame, the chancellor confirmed that the Warsaw Uprising has become a part of European history."

Noting the absence this time of a representative from Russia, the paper regrets that instead of helping the insurgents, the wartime Soviet army stopped at the banks of the River Vistula.

"Moreover," the paper adds, "many historians believe that the western allies also did little to persuade Joseph Stalin to support the insurrection."

A commentator in the right-wing Nasz Dziennik daily cannot resist a political swipe at Poland's former communist rulers.

"Insurgents, having survived the German onslaught, did not live to see this moment, but died in the prisons of the Polish People's Republic. For years the communists tried to eradicate every display of patriotism," it says.

But the left-wing Trybuna is happy to headline its account: "Message of reconciliation and hope."

It says the three days culminated with a solemn concert in memory of the fallen.

"It was here that we heard the German chancellor's historic words about Polish pride, German shame as well as about reconciliation," the paper says.


In Germany, the Frankfurter Rundschau pays tribute to the chancellor for voicing shame and paying respect to the victims, calling these gestures a "duty required by a sense of historical decency".

Schroeder lacks an awareness of history and a flair for vivid words that speak to people's hearts
Die Welt

But its verdict on Mr Schroeder's performance is rather cautious, noting only that he "carried out this duty in an appropriate manner".

Die Welt in turn is decidedly unimpressed.

"The chancellor found the right, unequivocal words for shame and guilt, but his speech was lacking in warmth and heart," the paper says.

Compared with the speech-making skills of his predecessors, such as Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt and Helmut Kohl, "Schroeder lacks an awareness of history and a flair for vivid words that speak to people's hearts as well as their minds".

And the paper regrets the absence in the speech of a "forward-looking impetus", which could have helped repair the "strained relations between Germany and Poland".

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung doubts whether words alone will ever be enough to heal the wounds of history.

"Only two months earlier, at the anniversary of the allied invasion of Normandy, Chancellor Schroeder was able to state that World War II really has become history now."

This, however, could never be the case in Warsaw, according to the paper.

"Quite the opposite: The debates and political demands rooted in the war have badly clouded the German-Polish relationship, and declarations by both sides that there are no problems between the governments will not change this," it says.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

The BBC's Paul Anstiss
"Gerhard Schroeder expressed regret at the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis"

The press in Poland
29 Apr 04  |  Europe
The press in Germany
11 May 04  |  Europe
Warsaw stops to remember
01 Aug 04  |  Europe
In pictures: Warsaw remembers
30 Jul 04  |  In Pictures
Warsaw Jews mark uprising
20 Apr 03  |  Europe
Timeline: Poland
24 Jun 04  |  Country profiles
Country profile: Poland
28 Jun 04  |  Country profiles

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