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The story about German- Polish reconciliation


pawian 155 | 8,507
12 Sep 2011  #1
I constantly run into Net articles about an exemplary cooperation of Poland and Germany in today`s Europe.

MediaWatch made a good thread once:

polishforums.com/history-poland-34/poland-germany-look-back-years-things-common-53755/ - Poland and Germany look back 1000 years of things in common

How did it go that two mortal enemies changed into partners? (Friends would be too much).

An old Polish saying goes: Jak świat światem, nie będzie Niemiec Polakowi bratem. As long as the world is going, never will a German be a brother for a Pole.

It seemed true during and after WW2. Let`s recall facts what Germans did in Poland:

3 million Polish Jews annihilated in death camps or ghettos.
1.7 - 1.9 million Poles exterminated in executions, pacifications, raids, roundups.
0.65 million died in military campaigns.

Not to mention destroyed cities, devastated industry, culture, historical monuments.

Poland wasn`t the Land of Plenty before the war, true, but afterwards it was like The Waste Land.

How did burying the hatchet start?:

Due to allies` post war scheme, Polish borders were shifted westwards, thus eastern German lands became Polish western territory. A few million Germans were resettled to Germany proper.

In Cold War era, with two conflicted blocks, the Polish borders became a hot issue:

In 1950 the communist GDR officially recognised the border to its sister state within the Soviet sphere, whereas the democratic Federal Republic of Germany, in line with an agreement made with the three western powers (USA, Great Britain and France), reserved the right to wait until the question of the legality of the "former eastern territories of Germany" had been settled by a final peace treaty signed by all the victors of the war. In Germany the Associations for Displaced Germans came into being and in 1950 they solemnly declared their intention to secure their right to their homeland - this time without the use of force.

goethe.de/ins/jp/lp/prj/wza/depl/en2260368.htm

In 1961 a few representatives of German protestant churches issued a declaration of border recognition, which later, in 1965, grew into an official memorandum, calling for the German government to acknowledge the new Polish German borders.

Soon afterwards, in November 1965, Polish bishops issued a famous declaration of forgiveness, known as the Letter of Reconciliation.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_of_Reconciliation_of_the_Poli sh_Bishops_to_the_German_Bishops

While recalling past and recent historical events, the bishops stretched out their hands in forgiveness and are asking for forgiveness. Here referred to as Letter of Reconciliation of the Polish Bishops to the German Bishops it is actually only one part of the extensive groundbreaking invitation and letter, where they declared: "We forgive and ask for forgiveness" (for the crimes of World War II).

Among prominent supporters of this letter was Archbishop Karol Wojtyła, who later became Pope John Paul II in 1978.
The letter was answered by bishops of both of the then-two Germanys together.


Polish communist rulers were furious:

Widely publicised in Poland's churches, the letter drew a strong reaction from the Communist authorities of the People's Republic of Poland. Władysław Gomułka saw it as clearly aimed at countering his propaganda, which saw West Germany as the main external enemy of Poland and hostility between Poland and West Germany as one of the main guarantees of social order in the Recovered Territories.
To counter the threat of losing control over people's minds, the Communist authorities reacted with anti-German and anti-Catholic hysteria. The Primate of Poland, Stefan Wyszyński, was denied a passport for his trip to Rome and on January 15, 1966 [...]

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_of_Reconciliation_of_the_Polish_Bishops_to_the_German_Bishops

TBC
delphiandomine 83 | 17,531
12 Sep 2011  #2
I constantly run into Net articles about an exemplary cooperation of Poland and Germany in today`s Europe.

I can give you a great example - in Frankfurt/Slubice, the Poles in Slubice all speak German, while the German supermarkets accept Zloty. Works well :)

(and saved my ass once - I was buying stuff in Frankfurt, only to realise that the Germans are morons that don't accept Visa Electron in a normal supermarket. Faced with looking exceptionally stupid, the guy saw a 100zl note in my wallet and said (in Polish!) - we can accept Zloty. Very useful!)
OP pawian 155 | 8,507
12 Sep 2011  #3
:):):):)

Border cooperation and all interpersonal contacts (provided they are positive for both sides) is much better than official declaration of partnership of politicians.
delphiandomine 83 | 17,531
12 Sep 2011  #4
Exactly. All this official declarations are just that, declarations - what matters is how things are on the ground.

I've got a photo for this thread - a kamienica in Germany (about 20m from Poland) - full of Polish names ;)
OP pawian 155 | 8,507
12 Sep 2011  #5
=delphiandomine]
I've got a photo for this thread - a kamienica in Germany (about 20m from Poland) - full of Polish names ;)

So.... :):):):)
Crow 136 | 7,373
12 Sep 2011  #6
The story about German- Polish reconciliation

no peace under Germanic conditions!

Jebite se svi! Jebo vas NATO i EU!
OP pawian 155 | 8,507
12 Sep 2011  #7
Crow, take it onto your chest like a man. Przyjmij to na klatę jak mężczyzna.

Polish German cooperation within EU is well under way. It can`t be stopped despite various obstacles.

I am sorry. I do pity you because your Serbian Kosovo cause is lost here completely.
Crow 136 | 7,373
12 Sep 2011  #8
Przyjmij to na klatę jak mężczyzna.

Da primim? Primi ti

Polish German cooperation within EU is well under way.

yes. Directly to pizda materina

It can`t be stopped despite various obstacles.

i know that. Only if Germany collapse, things could move in other direction

I am sorry.

me too.
OP pawian 155 | 8,507
12 Sep 2011  #9
I am sorry.

me too.

Dear Crow, my Slavic brother. You feel now like an average Pole felt in 1945 when he/she found out that Poland was shifted westwards, losing such important centres of Polish life as Wilno, Lwow and a few other.

You feel like an average eastern German who learnt in 1945 that he/she had to be relocated from their homeland to the West, losing Stettin, Danzig, Breslau and a few other.

But time heals the wounds. At least, it is supposed to. Also wounds imposed by cruel decrees of History.

Germans and Poles managed to start and develop cooperation in many aspects of everyday life. With their politicians` help and without it, too.

You and your Serbian compatriots have to think in the same categories. People can`t cherish animosities for ever. It is simply unhealthy for us.
Crow 136 | 7,373
12 Sep 2011  #10
People can`t cherish animosities for ever. It is simply unhealthy for us.

Well then, Germans are just germanized Serbians. So, after all, they deserve chance
OP pawian 155 | 8,507
12 Sep 2011  #11
So, after all, they deserve chance

Exactly. Give peace a chance.

In 1970 West Germans decided to sign a border treaty with Poland.
Between 1970 and 1990, the West German political establishment gradually recognised the "facts on the ground" and accepted clauses in the Treaty on the Final Settlement, whereby Germany renounced all claims to territory east of the Oder-Neisse line. In the Treaty of Warsaw (1970; ratified in 1972) West Germany recognized the Oder-Neisse line as Poland's western border and renounced any present and future territorial claims;

s

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oder-Neisse_line

Dear friends, before I continue with past acts of reconciliation, I need to make a digression with this entry:

WARSAW, Poland-[b]Germany's new president praised Poland as a land of freedom and expressed remorse over the cruelty inflicted by Germany on the country during World War II, in a first foreign visit heavy with symbolism.

Trips to Poland by German leaders always carry a degree of symbolic and emotional weight due to persisting memories of the war. In recent years, some German leaders have made their first visits abroad to Poland [...]

rybnik 18 | 1,462
28 Mar 2012  #12
very interesting thread Pawian.
hague1cmaeron 14 | 1,377
28 Mar 2012  #13
Faced with looking exceptionally stupid, the guy saw a 100zl note in my wallet and said (in Polish!) - we can accept Zloty.

You got to be careful with that delph, you do know that Frederick the Great counterfeited the Polish currency(:

Komorowski, who was also an anti-communist dissident, gave Gauck an original historic poster of Solidarity.

it turned out that he already had a copy of this poster, he will take one home and leave the other in the office(:
OP pawian 155 | 8,507
28 Mar 2012  #14
very interesting thread Pawian.

Wow! I understand it as an incentive to work harder.

So, back to topic.

Right after signing the border treaty, The story about German- Polish reconciliation German Chancellor, Willy Brandt, decided to make an even more spectacular move. He honoured Poles of Jewish descent who perished by German hands during WW2.

The incident took place during a visit to a monument to the Nazi-era Warsaw Ghetto Uprising on December 7, 1970, in what was then the communist People's Republic of Poland. After laying down a wreath, Brandt, very surprisingly, and to all appearances spontaneously, knelt. He remained silently in that position for a short time, surrounded by a large group of dignitaries and press photographers.

Brandt had actively resisted the early Nazi regime, and had spent most of the time of Hitler's reign in exile. The occasion of Brandt's visit to Poland at the time was the signing of the Treaty of Warsaw [...]

/wiki/Warschauer_Kniefall

His act of repentance wasn`t received too warmly in Germany:

It wasn`t appreciated by communist authorities, either. The Polish press was censored by communists and photos of kneeling Brandt were cut out from next day articles.

Brandt was repeatedly interviewed about the genuflection and about his motives. He later noted that:
(German original) "Unter der Last der jüngsten Geschichte tat ich, was Menschen tun, wenn die Worte versagen. So gedachte ich Millionen Ermordeter."[3]

(English translation) Under the weight of recent history, I did what people do when words fail them. In this way I commemorated millions of murdered people.


Today, there is Willy Brandt Square in Warsaw with a small monument.

Poland picture
rybnik 18 | 1,462
29 Mar 2012  #15
I understand it as an incentive to work harder.

positive feedback is always a good thing :)
Funky Samoan 2 | 181
2 Apr 2012  #16
Border cooperation and all interpersonal contacts (provided they are positive for both sides) is much better than official declaration of partnership of politicians.

You couldn't be more right with that.

Unfortunately Poles and Germans lost their traditional area of contact, which was one of the biggest areas of mixed populace in Europe, due to the consequences of WWII.

Here is a map how the situation was in 1925: upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/82/Historical_German_l inguistical_area.PNG. A vast area stretched from Silesia via Greater Poland to Pomerania. The dominant language could be different from village to village. Somethimes even language and nationality did not fit together. The Polish speaking Mazurians (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masurians) for instance had no problem voting in absolute majority for the Nazi party in the 1930s, while some German speakers in Poznan, descendants 18th century immigrants from Bamberg (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bambrzy), desclared themselves as member of the Polish nation to completely perplexed Nazi invaders in 1939.

As we all know since 1945 the situation is like this: upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f8/German_standard_var ieties.png. Poles and Germans now live along the smallest border possible. Neighbours along the Oder Neisse border don't know one another but there are some rays of hope.

We should intensify cross national cooperation at the divided cities Görlitz/Zgorzelec, Guben/Gubin, Frankfurt (Oder)/Słubice, Küstriner Vorland/Kostrzyn nad Odrą. We need much more bilingual kindergartens and stuff like that. Szczecin should intensify contacts towards Berlin and the East of Vorpommern should reestablish contacts to its old capital. Did you know that some inhabitants of Scczecin now move to the German side of the Border because the prices for housing and stuff like that are cheaper than at the Polish side of the border? The city of Löcknitz is one good example for that: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%C3%B6cknitz.
OP pawian 155 | 8,507
2 Apr 2012  #17
Did you know that some inhabitants of Scczecin now move to the German side of the Border because the prices for housing and stuff like that are cheaper than at the Polish side of the border?

Yes, I do. It has been taking place for a few years now. German East is slowly depopulating, so Poles are entering.

In the good old days of the German Democratic Republic, aka East Germany, Hoyerswerda was a model industrial town with about 80,000 inhabitants. It had the highest birthrate in the East. After reunification, things changed. The population fell by half. The average age increased from 35 in 1989 to 48.
"Every time I visit my parents and I drive through Hoyerswerda, there's every time a new house that's torn down," says 24-year-old Judika Zirzow, a German woman who now works in a bank in Karlruhe. "The face of Hoyerswerda is different... It's sad to think that if I have children, I could never tell them, 'Here's where I grew up."

Germany Poland map

mercatornet.com/demography/view/5433

The city of Löcknitz is one good example for that:

It seems local authorities in the German East say prayers so that Poles come and settle there:

nytimes.com/2011/06/28/world/europe/28iht-letter28.html?pagewanted=all
Funky Samoan 2 | 181
2 Apr 2012  #18
Yes, I do. It has been taking place for a few years now. German East is slowly depopulating, so Poles are entering.

Drang nach Westen! ;-)
OP pawian 155 | 8,507
2 Apr 2012  #19
We are only recovering ancient Slavic lands. :):):):):):)

Just joking. :):):):):)
rybnik 18 | 1,462
3 Apr 2012  #20
We are only recovering ancient Slavic lands.

I love this thread! Keep it coming :)
Funky Samoan 2 | 181
3 Apr 2012  #21
We are only recovering ancient Slavic lands. :):):):):):)

Don't underestimate our power to Germanize Slavs. We are masters in that art. It will only take two generations and you will find perfect Germans there, and for a good German it's totally normal to have surnames like Kowalski, Wischnewski, Nowak, Kaminski, Schimanski, Nowitzki and so on :) :) :)
monia 3 | 212
3 Apr 2012  #22
You should search more to find out how it was done with these names . Read more about germanization which took place on Polish soil under the Bismarck Germany.

Germans are not capable to Germanize us . They were trying to do it in the last 1000 years and failed , so don`t overestimate your power.
OP pawian 155 | 8,507
3 Apr 2012  #23
Don't underestimate our power to Germanize Slavs. We are masters in that art. It will only take two generations and you will find perfect Germans there, and for a good German it's totally normal to have surnames like Kowalski, Wischnewski, Nowak, Kaminski, Schimanski, Nowitzki and so on :) :) :)

You obviously don`t know the story of Konrad Wallenrod, a "perfect" Germanised Slav. Read it please. :):):):):):):):)

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konrad_Wallenrod

Your thread is very interesting and moving, thank you so much for putting so much time into this very informative thread.

I love this thread! Keep it coming :)

Hmm, thank you guys, but I have never been showered with so many compliments before. I am a bit suspicious - I smell a hamster. Why are you praising me? Do you want to borrow money? Go to bed with me? Or else?
Funky Samoan 2 | 181
3 Apr 2012  #24
Anyway, humor is one of my strongholds, but I joke when there is a light topic and I can be very funny

You still haven't understood what our discussion was about, have you, Monia? Please read the last posts! It is pretty simple...

We were talking about people from the Szczecin metropolitan area moving to the German side of the border that is gradually depopulating because East Germans keep on moving to the West of Germany. I thought it may be funny to call this "Drang nach Westen". (If you don't get this please read this article: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drang_nach_Osten. The pawian "reminded" me that in the year 950 the language border between "Germans" and "Western Slavs" was about here:

upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bb/West_slavs_9th-10th_c..png
Then I made a joke about that Germans did a "good job" in Germanizing about 50 Slavic tribes and millions of ethnic Poles and Czechs over the centuries.

You may not find this funny but I did. If you really seek reconciliation between our two people then start laughing about the sad parts of our pasts might help.
PennBoy 76 | 2,437
3 Apr 2012  #25
You obviously don`t know the story of Konrad Wallenrod, a "perfect" Germanised Slav.

Who he himself inspired a 'Germanized' Pole Hans Kloss :) (Stanisław Kolicki) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Kloss
The fictional character's communist era series was made into a movie this year..


OP pawian 155 | 8,507
3 Apr 2012  #26
Unfortunately Poles and Germans lost their traditional area of contact,

No.
After the WW2 resettlements, they lost the traditional area of conflict. :):):):)
TheOther 5 | 3,566
3 Apr 2012  #27
resettlements

Nice word for an ethnic cleansing that turned out to be quite deadly for a lot of people.
OP pawian 155 | 8,507
3 Apr 2012  #28
Troll, get out of this thread. :):):):)

PS. Germans were treated very fair compared to what they had done before. :):):)
TheOther 5 | 3,566
3 Apr 2012  #29
Your problem if you cannot cope with the truth. Guess you were indoctrinated too much during your commie education... :)
Funky Samoan 2 | 181
3 Apr 2012  #30
I do know Adam Mickiewicz, but to be honest I never heard about his poem Konrad Wallenrod. Thanks for the hint. Too much of my countrymen, including me, know too little about our Polish neighbours.

There are plenty of examples of Germanized Slavs that re-discovered their Slavic roots in the past, inspired by Johann Gottfried Herder's romantic language based nationalistic ideas like: Josef Jungmann, Christoph Mrongovius and Josip Juraj Strossmayer.

But I won't hold back the negative examples like: Odilo Globocnik, Otto Skorzeny or Michael Swierczek.


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