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Enemies, Strangers, Friends. Poles and Germans.


GefreiterKania
17 Jun 2023 #1
The title of this thread is also the title of a new book about Polish-German relations. Written by Rolf Nikel, a former German ambassador to Poland, the book offers interesting insight into the relations with our western neighbour, especially in the context of wider German eastern policy towards Russia and former USSR states...

1

langenmueller.de/seiten/produktdetails-buch/product/3314/Feinde%20Fremde%20Freunde/

... the Polish translation of the book will be published this year by BC Edukacja publishing house. I can't wait :)

You can read an interesting fragment of the book (about Russia and safety politics in Central and Eastern Europe) in the latest issue of Odra (page 10, Rolf Nikel, Polska i fiasko niemieckiej polityki wobec Rosji).
OP GefreiterKania
17 Jun 2023 #3
The fragment I read in Odra (a literary monthly) was quite interesting. As for the entire book, I'm waiting for the Polish translation.

I like the title. Not sure if we have already moved from Fremde to Freunde, but at least we're not Feinde anymore.
Alien
17 Jun 2023 #4
we're not Feinde anymore.

There are a few on PF who think otherwise.
OP GefreiterKania
17 Jun 2023 #5
There are a few

Who? Iron and Amiga? That's only two. :)

This thread is not about PF members.
Ironside
17 Jun 2023 #6
Our respective countries are competing, our respective interests work at cross purposes.
Categories of friends or enemies do not fit into the context.
As for the people I never had any problems with Germans, they had been nice enough. I guess you cannot argue with Aryan looks.
Tacitus
17 Jun 2023 #7
respective interests work at cross purposes

Why would Poland and Germany have cross purposes? We want ultimately the same thing. Trade and work with each other and live in a peaceful Europe.
Alien
18 Jun 2023 #8
I think that the word "Strangers" best describes interpersonal German-Polish contacts. First, there is a real language barrier on the other hand, on the German side, there is an absolute lack of interest in Polish culture. For example, I cross the border in Świnoujście several times a year by car. Just across the border is the so-called (by the Germans) Polenmarkt. 90% of German "tourists" limit their stay in Świnoujście to this "Polenmarkt". They buy cigarettes and other products there, which they would buy cheaper and better if they traveled a few kilometers further into the city. Then they go to a restaurant in the "Polenmarkt", refuel at a gas station near the border and return to Germany. Absolute lack of interest in foreign (Polish) culture, etc. Only about 10% of German tourists dare to go further into the city, which is much more attractive than the tin booths at the "Polenmarkt". Real shame.
Tacitus
18 Jun 2023 #9
German side, there is an absolute lack of interest in Polish culture

Maybe B.B. can elaborate on his impression on the East German side, but I think I can confirm this for many West Germans. I doubt most West Germans could name a famous Polish author or a famous Polish piece of music.

Western European and American culture is everything here (well and Japanese in certain circles).

Part of this is probably due to the Iron curtain and could be changed in time with positive advertising. Sadly the opposite is happening right now, with mostly negative news coming from Poland.
Kashub1410
18 Jun 2023 #10
@Tacitus
I am only guessing right now but, I wouldn't be surprised that West Germans consider it being the East Germans specialty to have contact with what they consider it "the east" and therefore "Eastern Europe".

So in any case when a West German would happen to want to know more about Slavs, Czechs, Poles or Russians etc.

Their natural go to, would be the East Germans. Considering the reputation held by West Germans I wouldn't be surprised if they "blame Slavs" for East Germans holding negative traits as compared to being west German.

It's all theory at the moment, but yeah
OP GefreiterKania
18 Jun 2023 #11
Absolute lack of interest in foreign (Polish) culture, etc.

Unfortunately it works both ways, we can't blame only Germans.

For Poles in general, the only real interest in Germany is among the lower classes, people who consider emigrating there permanently or temporarily to earn money. If a Pole is slightly better off, he/she is much more likely to be more interested in Italian or French language or culture, there are people who love Ireland, UK, Czechia or Hungary; also Spain, Croatia, Greece and Turkey are popular tourist destinations but if someone says that he is going to spend his holiday in Germany, they are going to get a lot of strange looks.

I suppose it's still the consequence of WW2. I am 44 and I remember what my grandparents told me about the war and occupation; I grew up with those stories, so it's still a personal thing for me. Younger generations might have a different attitude, hopefully.
Ironside
18 Jun 2023 #12
@GefreiterKania
Why not? Language barrier or not seems German culture isn't, oozing any attractive allure.

@Tacitus
Why? Just the way it is. Its a complex issue. On the other hand there are no will or need for Germany to revalute their mindset towards Poland.

As for news from Poland, that is the way they shape their own public opinion about Poland.
Basically that is a blame game and pointing fingers.
Domination is the code name,
mafketis
18 Jun 2023 #13
German culture isn't, oozing any attractive allure.

What European country is now? In terms of popular culture (a big source of soft power) hardly any European country seems to be doing much....

Partly that's a question of fractured markets and atomized viewership/listening patterns...

There used to be a kind of common student culture in Poland (books, movies, music) that all students knew and had opinions about.... there's nothing remotely like that now.
Tacitus
18 Jun 2023 #14
Just the way it

I meant to ask where you see them? There are differences to be sure, but broadly Warsaw and Berlin have the same long-term goals.
Bratwurst Boy
18 Jun 2023 #15
90% of German "tourists" limit their stay in Świnoujście to this "Polenmarkt".

Thing is these "tourists" are poor people who try to save a few Euros with bying things cheaper over the border than at home. They are and never will be your typical tourists, to busy with surving than interested in sight seeing. You can't blame them.

And it truly seems as if our countries are more interested in the "next" neighbour than the direct neighbour, in Polands case it's France and in Germany's case its Russia.

But hey, see it positive....neighbours don't have to be best friends, they rarely are...generally to much bad historical blood....not being enemies is alot. And in the case of Poland and Germany we must'n forget that we are together members of a huge enoconomical union and also of a huge military alliance....better it never has been between us in our both history....so....heads up! :)
OP GefreiterKania
18 Jun 2023 #16
broadly Warsaw and Berlin have the same long-term goals

Exactly. There is a wide economic, educational and cultural cooperation, and we are in the same political (EU) and military (NATO) blocks. There will always be differences but there's just not much space for any real enmity anymore.

in Polands case it's France

... or Italy. If I'm ever in Germany it's only in transit to one of these countries and I very rarely stop for tourist purposes (well, if I drive to Italy, I usually stay for one night in Ingolstadt but that's it). If it wasn't for my wife's fear of flying we would most likely never even set foot in Germany. *blushes* So, no - it's not only Germans. Poles are equally to blame in this "lack of interest" affair.

better it never has been between us in our both history....so....heads up! :)

Indeed. And it will only get better with time. :)
Bratwurst Boy
18 Jun 2023 #17
Poles are equally to blame in this "lack of interest" affair.

*nods*

But differently than Gruni seems to think it has from the german side nothing to do with a dislike of "Slavs"....nobody here (that I know of) thinks in racial dimensions at all...

I mean, Russians are also Slavs, right? And that german interest in them would make no sense if we are anti-Slavs generally...
OP GefreiterKania
18 Jun 2023 #18
anti-Slavs

Quite right. I don't think many people in Germany still have any old Übermenschen delusions (well, not in racial sense anyway ;)). And if they do, they wouldn't be our dream tourists anyway. :)
Bratwurst Boy
18 Jun 2023 #19
....and it's hard to cling to the belief we are better than the rest when our Mannschaft plays like this! :)
OP GefreiterKania
18 Jun 2023 #20
... buuuuuuut, if you keep losing to Poland it can only improve our relations. :)
Bratwurst Boy
18 Jun 2023 #21
...what a price to pay!!!! But a real good apology for losing, heh:)
Lyzko
18 Jun 2023 #22
GefreiterKania is right, at least concerning the lack of residual notions re: German superiority.

However, many Germans still do tend to look down somewhat on their Eastern neighbor. I base this on my numerous conversations with German friends and acquaintances.
Bobko
18 Jun 2023 #23
We want ultimately the same thing. Trade and work with each other and live in a peaceful Europe.

You know who else is aligned on this matter? The other 26 EU countries, with each other, and also with Poland. Not exactly a profound indicator of great commonality.

There are differences to be sure, but broadly Warsaw and Berlin have the same long-term goals.

Have you considered a career in politics or diplomacy? You seem quite good with these sweet nothings.
Bratwurst Boy
18 Jun 2023 #24
I base this on my numerous conversations with German friends and acquaintances.

What exactly do they say?

Not exactly a profound indicator of great commonality.

Actually it is....if you compare that with our past a greater commonality we never had!
Lyzko
18 Jun 2023 #25
Many continue to regard the average Pole as little more than a cheap laborer Black Marketeer who gladly undercuts skilled German craftsmen by charging less for more.

Furthermore, Germans typically tease Poles for how they speak German:-)
Bobko
18 Jun 2023 #26
if you compare that with our past

Compared to your past the Tutsi and Hutu have cordial relations.
Bratwurst Boy
18 Jun 2023 #27
@Lyzko

May I ask how many german aquaintances you have?

Because right now skilled craftsmen are hard to come by....especially cheap ones.....polish craftsmen would be very welcomed! And they could demand what they want!

(After all the german gov even wants to import them from far away places)

Compared to your past the Tutsi and Hutu have cordial relations.

That's what I'm saying.....so.....our current relationship is heavenly....something our ancestors couldn't even dream of....we should never forget that! :)
Lyzko
18 Jun 2023 #28
B.B., it all depends on the age group as well as the demography of the Germans in question. My contacts are in general between 30-60, are more or less middle class (Mittelstand), and live by in large in Hamburg, Bremen as well as other parts of North Germany.

As far as the rest of the country, I would never pretend to speak with authority or to misrepresent my familiarity with German public opinion.
Bratwurst Boy
18 Jun 2023 #29
....ask them again about our "Fachkräftemangel" and you could be surprised! ;)
Lyzko
18 Jun 2023 #30
I'm sure. Only the menfolk in my circle of friends/acquaintances tend to proudly do their own home repairs, and without ever relying on the Pole (let alone fellow German craftsmen (Handwerker) ) to do the job:-)


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