Tempers flare between Germany and Poland as Berlin diplomat’s family ties to Hitler emerge

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Ambassador-designate Arndt Freiherr Freytag von Loringhoven has been waiting more than three months to receive official approval from the Polish authorities so he can carry out official duties as Germany’s envoy in the country. Berlin first blamed it on the coronavirus pandemic causing a slowdown of business in the Polish capital before claiming the delay was because of President Andrzej Duda’s lengthy campaign to secure re-election. It was also claimed the resignation of Polish foreign minister Jack Czaputowicz had also slowed down diplomatic business.

But now it has emerged Mr von Loringhoven’s family history could have played a huge role in Warsaw’s decision to delay the diplomatic approval.

His father, Bernd Freytag von Loringhoven, served in Adolf Hitler’s bunker in the final few months of the Second World War.

“What is strange for us is that no bells rang in Berlin,” a senior Polish official told the Financial Times.

“It seems like no one really paid enough attention to his personal data.”

Another official added: “Of course, no one is responsible for their fathers.

“But Germany has so many good diplomats who don’t have these complications.”

The source claimed the matter was still being discussed in Warsaw and would be “resolved soon”.

Germans have defended Mr von Loringhoven, who has served as Nato’s first chief of intelligence and deputy head of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency.

Berlin official insist his family ties should not put him at a disadvantage as a diplomat.

One noted another of the envoy’s relatives is Wessel Freytag von Loringhoven, who helped with a failed plot to assassinate Hitler on July 20, 1944.

Tensions between Germany and Poland are on a knife-edge after recent clashes over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and reparations from the Second World War.

During his recent campaign to be elected as Polish president, Mr Duda lashed out at German-owned media companies, including the Polish newspaper Fakt.

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The publication belongs to the Axel Springer media group, which also owns the popular Die Welt broadsheet.

Philipp Fritz, its Warsaw correspondent, was singled out for criticism by the president.

“What’s going on? Does the Axel Springer company, with its German origins want to influence the presidential elections in Poland?” Mr Duda fumed in July.

“Does Germany want to choose the president in Poland? That is low, I will not accept it.”

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Slawomir Debski, of the the Polish PISM think-tank, said he expected new foreign minister Zbigniew Ray to get relations with Berlin back on track.

“I think Professor Rau is very aware that good relations are built on both small and big steps,” Mr Debski said.

“And I think that at the beginning of his term as foreign minister, solving big and small issues will be very important.”

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