Poland approves new German ambassador after long delay

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland has accepted the appointment of a new German ambassador after an unusual delay of three months, reportedly rooted in Polish grievances over World War II.

Polish media have reported that the country’s conservative and nationalist ruling party, Law and Justice, resisted accepting Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven as an ambassador because his father served as a military officer for Nazi Germany during the war.

Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland 81 years ago Tuesday sparked World War II, in which nearly 6 million Polish citizens died.

The three-month delay in Poland approving the agrément, or official diplomatic approval, for von Loringhoven had caused some tensions between Poland and Germany. The ties were already strained by other issues, including the Polish government’s anger over critical coverage of President Andrzej Duda in some independent media outlets with partial German ownership.

Jürgen Hardt, a foreign policy spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right bloc in parliament, welcomed the step but called it “overdue.” He noted that the news reached him on the anniversary of the start of the war.

“It remains incomprehensible to us that the Polish government delayed the granting of the agrément for so long,” Hardt said. “Ambassador Freytag von Loringhoven is an experienced diplomat who has worked all his life for a close and trusting cooperation with Poland.”

Former Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz, who resigned last month, called the long delay “strange” in an interview with daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita.

Szymon Szynkowski vel Sek, a Polish deputy foreign minister, announced late Monday that von Loringhoven had been accepted.

He stressed that Germans must be aware of “a special kind of Polish sensitivity, resulting from the fact that the crimes of World War II remain a great unhealed wound in the minds of the Polish nation all the time.”

Rzeczpospolita had reported that the ambassador’s appointment was being held up by Law and Justice party leader Jarosław Kaczyński, who opposed von Loringhoven representing Germany in Poland due to the role his father played in the war.

The ambassador’s father, Bernd Freytag von Loringhoven, prepared the daily military briefing in Adolf Hitler’s bunker from 1944 to the end of April 1945 as an adjutant to the Army Chief of Staff, according to German news agency dpa.

Arndt Freytag von Loringhoven was born in 1956, more than 11 years after the war. He has served as deputy head of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service, and as Germany’s ambassador to the Czech Republic. He became NATO’s first chief of intelligence in 2016.

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