Crossroads of geopolitics

Germany revises history

Marek Jurek

Germany is building the Centre Against Expulsions and the government of Angela Merkel must decide about its board. Chancellor Merkel, thinking about the future election, will have to avoid clear decisions. Her spokesman keeps repeating that there is no need to hurry. Poland’s opposition against Erika Steinbach as a member of the board of the Centre Against Expulsions is one of the few moments when Poland took a unilateral stand in the international forum. Unfortunately, the stand concerning Steinbach is the smallest denominator of the Polish politics. And in fact it is only a reaction against the extremism of the German politics and is not a definition of our views concerning the consequences of World War II. The problem is not Mrs Steibach but the whole Centre Against Expulsions and the doctrine of ‘expulsion’ as such. Most of all, this doctrine should be rejected and the provoking concept of ‘expulsion’ should be erased from the official political vocabulary of the Federal Republic of Germany. The doctrine of ‘expulsion’ insults justice, showing victims as aggressors and aggressors as victims. The Germans do not want to remember that it was not Poland and Czechoslovakia that rejected to live with Germans in one country till the outbreak of World War II. It was the Germans that ruled out to live under the Polish or Czech sovereignty. In Poland and Czechoslovakia the Germans could have their political, cultural and religious lives. In 1938 the Germans had much greater freedom than their countrymen in Germany. Nobody wanted to expel the Germans living in Poland. It was Germany that rejected and destroyed the peaceful relationships between our countries, democratically giving authority to the declared enemies of Christianity and peace, at the same time inviting Stalin to enter Central Europe. Germany is trying to present the Polish protest against the Centre Against Expulsions as a lack of compassion. But this ‘visible sign’ is not to call to compassion but is to condemn the nations that were victims of the German aggression. I have repeated our German partners that the fewer accusations they make the more understanding and empathy we will show them. Compassion for accidental victims of resettlements is an obvious thing. The thing is that the Germans should understand (as once Vice-Chancellor Joschka Fischer said) that their fate was caused by their own country and their countrymen: firstly their democratic support for the anti-Polish politics of the Republic of Weimar and in the end their support for Hitler. The inhabitants of the borderlands of Pomorze, Mazury and Silesia voted for the NSDAP. It was actually them that Hitler owed the seizure of power. For the German politicians resettlements were illegal, but voting for the followers of Hitler was truly legal since it was democratic. It is a pity that the Germans do not understand that democracy increases and does not decrease the responsibility of nations. In fact, free-will acceptance of the post-war resettlements, accepting them in the spirit of penance, acknowledging them as compensation of Germany’s guilt towards Poland and Poles, is a great chance for Germany. Free-will recognition of guilt, cleansing of the past, which John Paul II taught about, restores dignity. Naturally, the innocent often suffer for the criminals’ fault but their suffering can cleanse Germany from the stigma of Hitlerism. Unfortunately, it is hard for them to accept this chance. Since the fundamental element of the national pride is not a feeling of wrong but harmonising the national interest with common good and focusing patriotism on universal moral values.

The text had been written before Erika Steinbach resigned from participation in the board of the Centre Against Expulsions.

"Niedziela" 11/2009

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
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