Museum director dropped after protests from Poland

Kerstin Gehmlich
Thursday 05 March 2009 01:00

A German lobby group has bowed to pressure from Poland and withdrawn the nomination of a conservative to oversee a new museum that will show the plight of Germans forced out of eastern Europe after the Second World War.

The League of Expellees' nomination of Erika Steinbach to sit on the museum's board had caused outrage in Poland. Her promotion of the interests of Germans expelled from eastern Europe after the war is controversial. The subject of the 12.5 million Germans ejected from Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia after the war has strained relations between Germany and Poland.

Many Poles fear the museum, which will focus on the expelled Germans but refer to other expulsions, will portray Germans as victims of a war they began. The speaker of Poland's lower house of parliament, Bronislaw Komorowski, welcomed the decision. Ms Steinbach's withdrawal will be a relief to German Chancellor Angela Merkel who was under pressure from both conservatives and Poland.

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