Bundestag reopens World War 2 wounds

Published on 15 February 2011 at 12:14


“Historians lambast the Bundestag,” headlines Gazeta Wyborcza, referring to the open letter signed by 68 historians from all over the world protesting the recent resolution passed by the Bundestag, the lower chamber of the German parliament, on Germans expelled after World War II from Poland, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union. Among other things the resolution establishes an Expellees’ Day and recognises their 1950 Charter as a milestone in Germany’s reconciliation with its neighbours. Only, as Wyborcza notes, the Charter does not use the word “reconciliation” once and among its signatories are numerous former members of the Nazi party and the SS. “This resolution sends a false message from the point of view of both history and politics,” reads the letter (most of its signatories being German). The Warsaw daily stresses that the letter is a token of German society’s refusal to accept “historical manipulations” by politicians or attempts to “disavow Germany’s responsibility for starting the war, or to fail to mention its victims”. It also notes that true reconciliation began in 1965 with the Polish bishops’ letter to their German brothers including the historic words “We forgive and ask for forgiveness”.

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