Controversial German politician renounces claim on post in expellees museum | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 11.02.2010
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Germany

Controversial German politician renounces claim on post in expellees museum

Expellee leader Erika Steinbach has won considerable concessions from the government over the future of a new expellees museum in exchange for renouncing her claim to a place on the advisory board.

Erika Steinbach

Erika Steinbach informed her association directly after the agreement was reached

Following talks with senior figures in Germany's governing coalition, Erika Steinbach agreed on Thursday to give up her claim to a seat in the advisory body of a new expellees Museum.

Steinbach, a Christian Democrat member of parliament, is the head of the Federation of Expellees, which brings together ethnic Germans who were expelled from Eastern Europe after the war.

As part of the agreement, her organization has won the right to nominate six members to the body instead of just three. In addition, the final vote on the membership of the board will take place in the German parliament and not in cabinet. The coalition also agreed to enlarge the museum's exhibition space.

But the association could not get its way over the issue of the museum's management: the coalition insisted that it will be run under the aegis of the German Historical Museum.

The agreement is close to a compromise which Steinbach suggested last month.

Coalition solves a problem

Expellees from Poland arriving in Germany in 1950

The museum will not only deal with the explusion of ethnic Germans after the war


Steinbach is a controversial figure, especially because she voted against the recognition of the post-war Polish border in 1991. Many of the expellees had lived in the previously German territories in what is now Western Poland.

With this agreement, the governing coalition has solved a problem which has dogged it almost since it came to power in September last year. While the Christian Democrats, who have wide support in the expellee community, backed Steinbach, the liberal Free Democrats opposed her candidacy. They argued that her unpopularity in Poland would damage attempts to improve relations between the two countries.

mll/Reuters/AFP/APN
Editor: Rob Turner

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