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Saturday, October 15, 2005

Poland s presidential frontrunner says shocked by family s Nazi links

The frontrunner has been caught out about his grandfathers role in the war. Donald Tusk claimed that both his grandfathers were in Nazi concentration camps. However, this turn out to be false.

Polish presidential frontrunner Donald Tusk said on Friday he was shocked to learn from media reports that his grandfather served briefly in the German army during the Nazis' brutal occupation of Poland in World War Two.

When the campaign manager of his conservative rival Lech Kaczynski first alleged Nazi links earlier this week, Tusk dismissed the charges as a dirty campaign trick, insisting both his grandfathers had been prisoners in Nazi concentration camps.

His strong denial prompted an apology from Kaczynski, who fired his campaign manager.

But on Friday two TV channels reported that documents in
Berlin archives showed Tusk's grandfather, Jozef, served in an auxiliary training battalion in Germany's Wehrmacht for several months towards the end of the war before joining a Polish exile army that fought with the Allies in late 1944.

The documents did not say whether Tusk's grandfather joined the Wehrmacht voluntarily or was forced to enlist - a frequent occurrence in the northern Kashubia region during the war.

"I didn't know anything about it. I learnt it today. This is a day of a big challenge for me. I am shocked by the fate of my grandfather," Tusk told public television on Friday night.

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