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Polish fury over German 'victims'
The Times ^ | August 10, 2006 | Roger Boyes in Berlin

Posted on 08/10/2006 4:35:26 AM PDT by twinself

GERMANY is publicly recalling its suffering in the confusion after the Second World War when millions of civilians from Eastern Europe were expelled. As the newly liberated Poles and Czechs sought revenge on their former oppressors, many German women were raped, beaten and robbed; some were nailed to cartwheels. Now the suffering of Germans is being remembered in an exhibition opening in Berlin today.

For Erika Steinbach, the moving spirit behind Forced Paths, it is the first step towards creating a permanent centre in Berlin to commemorate the 12 million Germans deported from Eastern Europe. “We owe it to ourselves,” the Christian Democrat politician said yesterday. “We owe it to history and our collective memory.” However, Angela Merkel’s Government is bracing itself for a fierce response from the nationalist leadership of Poland.

Lech Kaczynski, the Polish President, says that the centre is an attempt to represent Germans as victims. “It will be better for relations between our countries if this centre never comes into existence,” said the President, who with the Prime Minister, his brother Jaroslaw, makes no secret of his distrust of Germany.

Relations between Berlin and Warsaw are difficult. The Polish prosecutor has opened a case against a German newspaper for describing the twins as potatoes. A Catholic newspaper close to the Government has published a list of German correspondents in Poland, urging readers to make their anger known.

Earlier, one Polish magazine cover depicted Frau Steinbach in a black SS uniform straddling the Chancellor then, Gerhard Schröder. The impression, then as now, was that the Association of Deported Germans had become such a powerful lobbyist that it was forcing a rewriting of German history.

The exhibition tries to depict the deportation of Germans as one of many mass ethnic expulsions carried out in the 20th century. But Wolfgang Benz, the director of the Anti-Semitism Research Centre in Berlin, said that any attempt to commemorate the expelled Germans had to make clear “that the deportations were above all the result of Nazi extermination policies”.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Germany
KEYWORDS: attacoftheclones; ericasteinbach; germany; kaczynski; lechkaczynski; poland; revisionism; ww2
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Hitler talking to his supporters in a Bavarian restaurant.



Polish girl over the body of her dead sister. September 1st 1939


1 posted on 08/10/2006 4:35:27 AM PDT by twinself
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To: Lukasz; lizol; Grzegorz 246

ping!


2 posted on 08/10/2006 4:36:16 AM PDT by twinself
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To: twinself
As the newly liberated Poles and Czechs sought revenge on their former oppressors, many German women were raped, beaten and robbed; some were nailed to cartwheels. Now the suffering of Germans is being remembered in an exhibition opening in Berlin today.

So 2 wrongs make a right and the excerpt above is OK with you?

3 posted on 08/10/2006 4:46:04 AM PDT by Vaquero ("An armed society is a polite society" Robert A. Heinlein)
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To: twinself

That top one... could'a been taken at MoveOn.org headquarters Tuesday night.


4 posted on 08/10/2006 4:49:30 AM PDT by johnny7 (“And what's Fonzie like? Come on Yolanda... what's Fonzie like?!”)
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To: twinself

I don’t know where author see this “Polish fury”.


5 posted on 08/10/2006 4:56:42 AM PDT by Lukasz
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To: twinself

Media: Germans killing jews was wrong. Arab freedom fighters doing the same thing isnt so bad, Israel had it coming.


6 posted on 08/10/2006 4:57:08 AM PDT by Go Army.com (A slight modification of the story, bringing out the facts)
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To: Vaquero
As the newly liberated Poles and Czechs sought revenge on their former oppressors, many German women were raped, beaten and robbed; some were nailed to cartwheels.

Of course not. But 'many', 'some'... These words mean nothing to me. Who, when, where? If there were such cases they need to be investigated in detail and perpetrators punished, no matter whether Polish, Czech or as it most probably was - Russian. But the claims of the expelled are noting but ridiculous - even their leader Erica was born in a house near Gdynia from which a Polish family was thrown out from in 1939, to start with. Now she's leading "the expelled". That's about her credibility.

German must face the facts - they started that war and ruthlessly killed all civilians from the day one. I have nothing against them but claiming victimhood in such case is rather funny.
7 posted on 08/10/2006 4:58:09 AM PDT by twinself
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To: Lukasz

Shut up. It kinda "sounds cool".


8 posted on 08/10/2006 5:00:40 AM PDT by twinself
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To: twinself
"Who, when, where?"

2 million, ze Zentrum says.
9 posted on 08/10/2006 5:00:46 AM PDT by Grzegorz 246
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To: Grzegorz 246

So you vistited their homepage... Did you note the credibility of numbers concerning the German civilian victims "killed by the Poles". Geez... they need to get some serious historians there. But I don't think it'll ever happen. Too much money and votes from "the expelled" is involved.


10 posted on 08/10/2006 5:06:43 AM PDT by twinself
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To: twinself

Cool down, man!

First of all: This is one of the many times where I read something about Erika Steinbach first on FR, the German media hardly takes ANY notice of her AT ALL. Plus: The Bund der Vertriebenen was a major political force in the 1950s. Not today.

Secondly: The photos were a cheap shot. Period.

Thirdly: Nobody's denying that first and foremost Poland was the victim here. BUT: Also the Germans have a right to mourn the losses of their loved ones.

Fourthly: As to comment about the the historical accurateness of the number of losses. True, the numbers differ, roughly between 1.1 and 3 million people. But then again, many just "disappeared", be it because a child starved at a roadside or a raped girl of 14 commited suicide. One will probably never be able to tell the real number because these were tumultuous times. But it's certainly more than a few dozen.

Fifthly: From a journalistic standpoint the article is mostly rubbish. I'm not so sure the Poles and Czechs were overjoyed by the sight of the Red Army as the Times says.

Sixthly: To be quite frank, sometimes it's better to let sleeping dogs lie. It's simply amateurish of heads of state to even dignify Steinbach's (who outside of her constituency is a nobody) nonsense with a riposte. Sure, it's an effective way to score cheap points with the chauvinistic circles in your own country. However it leads you nowhere: What good should come out of this? A "Pommerania Liberation Organization" (PLO) that commits acts of terrorism in the "Polish occupied territories"?


11 posted on 08/10/2006 5:32:11 AM PDT by wolf78
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To: twinself
Do you know that they inherit a status of "expelled".


12 posted on 08/10/2006 5:53:31 AM PDT by Grzegorz 246
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To: twinself

They fail to mention that most of the rapes were by soldiers of the Red Army, or that most of the rape victims were members of the Eastern European nationalities which had just suffered years of Nazi horrors. There may have been some innocent German civilians, but the other nationalities suffered far more.


13 posted on 08/10/2006 6:01:46 AM PDT by Verginius Rufus
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To: Grzegorz 246

So you say 12 million Germans voluntary left their homes? If that wasn´t expulsion, please define this term. And I can´t laugh about 2 millions deads, which weren´t all killed by Poles or Czechs. Many died on their run to the West, or were killed by the Red Army. Planes firing machine gun salves on the fleeing people come to my mind.


14 posted on 08/10/2006 6:04:30 AM PDT by Michael81Dus (2 messages: Israel is right. .... And: United we stand.)
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To: Verginius Rufus

Some? 2 million people died, 12 million more lost their homes and all property. This was a wrong.

True is, other nationalities suffered far more. 25 million Soviet citizens were killed during the war, for instance. But these people are remembered by their nations. Why shouldn´t Germany remember its deads?


15 posted on 08/10/2006 6:06:11 AM PDT by Michael81Dus (2 messages: Israel is right. .... And: United we stand.)
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To: Grzegorz 246
Do you know that they inherit a status of "expelled".

There is a status?
16 posted on 08/10/2006 6:12:38 AM PDT by wolf78
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To: All
I guess when you aggressively try to take over the world you shouldn't be surprised when people you oppressed treat you poorly.
17 posted on 08/10/2006 6:19:28 AM PDT by texan75010
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To: Michael81Dus
Planes firing machine gun salves on the fleeing people come to my mind.

You mean more or less something like this? (vidcaps, from the movie showing Polish refugees in September, 1939)




18 posted on 08/10/2006 6:23:56 AM PDT by lizol (Liberal - a man with his mind open ... at both ends)
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To: wolf78
Thanks but I am as cool as a cucumber ;)

First of all: This is one of the many times where I read something about Erika Steinbach first on FR, the German media hardly takes ANY notice of her AT ALL. Plus: The Bund der Vertriebenen was a major political force in the 1950s. Not today.

Whether you want it or not Steinbach dominated German-Polish discourse. Almost every Polish family lost a member killed by 'Germans' during the WW2. So victimizing the nation of perpetrators will generate anger for years and years to come. Also because of its emotional value it will be largely exploited in politics both internal and foreign.

Secondly: The photos were a cheap shot. Period.

It's your opinion and I respect it. But they're real not fakes, like some of the ones from Beirut. The first one to remind you that Nazis was not just Hitler alone plus a couple of his pals. Germans as a nation fell for him. Secondly, this little child was really killed. Where is the killer now? I don't think he ever was martial courted.

Thirdly: Nobody's denying that first and foremost Poland was the victim here. BUT: Also the Germans have a right to mourn the losses of their loved ones.

Of course you have the right to do it. You don't have the right to forget that you reaped what you sowed. Under the US and British administration for the Western Germany 'the punishment' was reeaaly light, you must say. They simply treated you like human beings. A privilege that wasn't on the side of your previous Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Yugoslavian victims.

Fourthly: As to comment about the the historical accurateness of the number of losses. True, the numbers differ, roughly between 1.1 and 3 million people. But then again, many just "disappeared", be it because a child starved at a roadside or a raped girl of 14 commited suicide. One will probably never be able to tell the real number because these were tumultuous times. But it's certainly more than a few dozen.

Exactly. BUT the numbers given on their site provide the illusion of scientific research which is certainly not true. Especially to those who have no idea about the history and how it really was. Whenever possible you need to investigate these issues very closely. If there was a crime - it should be punished.

Fifthly: From a journalistic standpoint the article is mostly rubbish. I'm not so sure the Poles and Czechs were overjoyed by the sight of the Red Army as the Times says.

Man, I can tell you. Where my family comes from people hated the Soviets so much that they actually fought in their homes when they came in Spetember '39. Also maybe you don't know but the Red Army 'freed' Warsaw in January '45 there wasn't anyone to greet them there among the sea of ruins. To contradict your view of Chechs - much unlike Prague.

Sixthly: To be quite frank, sometimes it's better to let sleeping dogs lie. It's simply amateurish of heads of state to even dignify Steinbach's (who outside of her constituency is a nobody) nonsense with a riposte. Sure, it's an effective way to score cheap points with the chauvinistic circles in your own country. However it leads you nowhere: What good should come out of this? A "Pommerania Liberation Organization" (PLO) that commits acts of terrorism in the "Polish occupied territories"?

I think that our nations need to talk seriously. During all theses years when Poland wasn't independent we never really talked to each other. You had your Marshall plan, we had our Marshall Stalin plan. You turned your head West. We had our head turned East. Without that dialog in truth the demons of the past will prevail. Have you ever been to Poland? Has Kaczynski ever been to Germany?
19 posted on 08/10/2006 6:26:29 AM PDT by twinself
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To: twinself
the centre is an attempt to represent Germans as victims

If all the stuff cited in the article did happen, then there were definitely some German victims.

We also know that Hitler killed a number of his own citizens for daring to disagree with him. Interesting that there's no mention of memorializing those victims.

20 posted on 08/10/2006 6:30:25 AM PDT by MEGoody (Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.)
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To: MEGoody

I really wouldn't mind every one of those few had his/her own memorial.


21 posted on 08/10/2006 6:32:43 AM PDT by twinself
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To: twinself

Oh, yes, President Kazczynski has been to Germany. At least twice. The last time he enjoyed the soccer game Germany-Poland sitting next to our cheering Chancellor.

And I´ve been to Poland.

Mrs. Steinbach spoke in German TV yesterday. She doesn´t understand the anger, and she pointed out that her organisation (the BdV) has good relations with the families who live now in the formerly German homes. The differences came up with the Eastern Poles who have almost no contacts with modern Germany, and only recall the Nazi era.


22 posted on 08/10/2006 6:33:32 AM PDT by Michael81Dus (2 messages: Israel is right. .... And: United we stand.)
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To: Michael81Dus
The differences came up with the Eastern Poles who have almost no contacts with modern Germany, and only recall the Nazi era.

BS - there's no such thing as Eastern and Western Poland in relation to this issue. As far as Steinbach is concerned my feeling is that all Poles think she's mental case. Apart from that speaking about the expulsions doesn't she recall the episode of Nazi era herself?
23 posted on 08/10/2006 6:39:34 AM PDT by twinself
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To: twinself; MEGoody

Few? Now tell me, who classifies as a victim in YOUR eyes?

In my eyes, there are several categories. In the more restricted category, a victim is someone who got mistreatment up to death without having been engaged in violent actions himself. Children, civilians who weren´t eligible to vote 1933 or didn´t vote NSDAP, come to my mind - no matter whether they were Germans, Poles, Jews, Christians, or whatever. The second category of victims are soldiers, who weren´t supportive for the Nazi or Stalin regime (when we speak of Eastern Europe), partisans, maybe even people who voted NSDAP in 1933 but didn´t want what happened afterwards.

And you say, it´s few people?


24 posted on 08/10/2006 6:39:38 AM PDT by Michael81Dus (2 messages: Israel is right. .... And: United we stand.)
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To: twinself

She didn´t look old, she was probably a young child in 1945.


25 posted on 08/10/2006 6:42:24 AM PDT by Michael81Dus (2 messages: Israel is right. .... And: United we stand.)
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To: Michael81Dus
We also know that Hitler killed a number of his own citizens for daring to disagree with him.

Speaking about these brave FEW I meant only these people. There were really few of them. Unfortunately.
26 posted on 08/10/2006 6:43:59 AM PDT by twinself
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To: Michael81Dus

She was a daughter of a Luftwaffe soldier born in 1943 in a house near Gdynia (within Polish borders before 09.1939 of course) from which they earlier threw out a Polish family. Does it still classify her as 'the expelled'? No? So what's your point now?


27 posted on 08/10/2006 6:48:48 AM PDT by twinself
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To: twinself

Christians, Communists, Social Democrats, students, military officers - there were tens of thousands who were active in the underground opposition and were killed for that in the KZs. There were more than 40 attempts to assassinate Hitler in Germany, the two most prominent by a civilian (Georg Elser) 1938 in Munich and by a military conspiration (leading: Col. Claus Graf Schenck von Stauffenberg, Gen. Ludwig Beck) 1944 in HQ Wolfsschanze/East Prussia. Both were well planned and failed just by coincidence.


28 posted on 08/10/2006 6:50:07 AM PDT by Michael81Dus (2 messages: Israel is right. .... And: United we stand.)
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To: Michael81Dus

Your definition is more than inclusive and unprecise - it's funny. I only wonder why you didn't include American Indians category, or whatever. :)


29 posted on 08/10/2006 6:52:43 AM PDT by twinself
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To: twinself

She is one of the expelled, yes. She´s one of the 12 million. What´s YOUR point?


30 posted on 08/10/2006 6:56:51 AM PDT by Michael81Dus (2 messages: Israel is right. .... And: United we stand.)
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To: twinself

I told you, bring a definition on your own! I can´t really take you for serious. Maybe you just hate Germans, but I´m not argueing with you that lots of Germans were Nazi victims. I could even call the families who lost their homes because of allied bombs Nazi victims, if they were against the regime.


31 posted on 08/10/2006 6:58:47 AM PDT by Michael81Dus (2 messages: Israel is right. .... And: United we stand.)
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To: twinself
As the war started to turn against Germany following the failure of Barbarossa, many Germans, civilians and soldiers alike, knew they they were going to reap what they had sown and it wasn't going to be pretty. Joking about "learning Russian" became commonplace. In their hearts, many Germans -particularly the soldiers who had fought in the east, knew that if the advancing Red Army was only half as brutal as the Wehrmacht had been, there would be hell to pay.
32 posted on 08/10/2006 6:59:08 AM PDT by Drew68
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To: twinself
Well, if Erica Steinbach is supposed to be considered as an "expelled", then children of Hans Frank , or Franz Kutschera, or Rudolph Höß too.
33 posted on 08/10/2006 6:59:27 AM PDT by lizol (Liberal - a man with his mind open ... at both ends)
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To: Michael81Dus

Christians? Hitler along with vast majority of Germans was Christian, too. I don't think it classifies them all as victims. Military officers... Spare me. How many of them precisely? What percentage? You're saying thousands, millions maybe... :) My opinion is that if it is really the case I think you should honor these thousands of people first. Cause they badly need some remeberance not only in Germany but also abroad. World doesn't know about them and you simply owe them that.


34 posted on 08/10/2006 6:59:52 AM PDT by twinself
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To: Michael81Dus

If Poland invaded Germany and I threw you out of your house would you call my child 'the expelled'?


35 posted on 08/10/2006 7:01:25 AM PDT by twinself
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To: Michael81Dus

It's time to take your pills. Byeee...


36 posted on 08/10/2006 7:02:07 AM PDT by twinself
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To: twinself

I know that this probably sounds hippy-esque...but wouldn't the best idea be some joint effort to display the civilian victims of Poland and Germany, or maybe East Europe and Germany, together? A big center where each side gets one wing (the Polish wing would probably have to be bigger) to display the atrocities that were comitted during this war? It doesn't even make sense to display the German victims without having seen the Polish victims before, because they effectively result from the German atrocities. Of course that does not justify anything, but I think something like this would be a big step to a better understanding between Germany and Poland, especially because it would be very hard to use such a joint effort as a political tool for either side.


37 posted on 08/10/2006 7:03:17 AM PDT by Schweinhund
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To: twinself

Why the need to open up this can of worms? Why Poles are singled out, and not the Soviets who forced the borders to change? The Poles would have gladly accepted the pre-war borders, but Stalin gave them no choice in the matter.


38 posted on 08/10/2006 7:03:55 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: twinself

Sure - when I come back, conquer Poland and force you to leave your house with your family.


39 posted on 08/10/2006 7:06:06 AM PDT by Michael81Dus (2 messages: Israel is right. .... And: United we stand.)
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To: wolf78

Yours is a good post.


40 posted on 08/10/2006 7:17:11 AM PDT by ansel12 (Life is exquisite... of great beauty, keenly felt.)
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To: twinself

One could argue that there also were people of German heritage that had been living in now-Poland (Wroclav and Szczecin for example) and other parts of East Europe, for example the now-Czech Republic, for quite a long time. These also were expelled, among others that had only recently come to 'germanize' the newly conquered lands. It's undeniable that after WW2 a considerable part of East Germany was also 'polonized'.


41 posted on 08/10/2006 7:17:32 AM PDT by Schweinhund
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To: twinself

I didn´t speak of "all". But maybe you should inform yourself about the German opponents of the Nazi regime.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_20_Plot
http://www.ushmm.org/education/foreducators/resource/resistance.pdf - Pages 40-45

Tens of thousand Germans also died in the KZ´s or were imprisoned - for daring to oppose the regime.


42 posted on 08/10/2006 7:19:26 AM PDT by Michael81Dus (2 messages: Israel is right. .... And: United we stand.)
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To: dfwgator

I don´t understand it either. The center against expulsion would also include the not less violent expulsion of Eastern Poles by the Soviets.


43 posted on 08/10/2006 7:22:25 AM PDT by Michael81Dus (2 messages: Israel is right. .... And: United we stand.)
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To: Schweinhund

But the bottom line is that borders have shifted in Europe for centuries.

What's done is done. Why can't people just leave well enough alone?


44 posted on 08/10/2006 7:29:25 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: twinself

"Also because of its emotional value it will be largely exploited in politics both internal and foreign."

Yeah, exploitation is the right word. It's the same as Gerhard Schroeder criticizing Bush: It plays into existing prejudices, but doesn't help anyone here and now. (For sure Schroeder did nothing to help the ailing German economy.)

"It's your opinion and I respect it. But they're real not fakes, like some of the ones from Beirut. Secondly, this little child was really killed. Where is the killer now? I don't think he ever was martial courted."

I didn't say they were fake. I just said it was a cheap as it did nothing but to further prejudices.

"The first one to remind you that Nazis was not just Hitler alone plus a couple of his pals. Germans as a nation fell for him."

True. But that again the Germans of today aren't the same as those of over 70s years ago. Collective guilt only goes so far.
I acknowledge what happened during the Nazi rule and certainly accept my responsibily as a German national. However: I did not vote for Hitler, neither did my parents nor Angela Merkel or Horst Koehler.
But to perpetuate the notion that because because our ancestors made a mistake all Germans must be homocidal maniacs is straightforward racist (I hope you don't get me wrong: I know that YOU don't do this and I'm not accusing you of anything, but as you certainly know, even here at FR there are some *censored* that do). And by the way, it's ridiculous, as the gene pool of (northern) Germans is identical to that of Brits and identical to Brits and anglo-saxon Americans.

"You don't have the right to forget that you reaped what you sowed."

Again: I did sow nothing. But I also don't demand Farther Pommerania back. ;-)

"Under the US and British administration for the Western Germany 'the punishment' was reeaaly light, you must say. They simply treated you like human beings. A privilege that wasn't on the side of your previous Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Yugoslavian victims."

Yeah, except for the part where Germany was divided in two, with the GDR also falling under the rule of communism and Western Germany being threatened with nuclear annihilation for 40 years ;-).

But yeah, you are right: Western Germans had it better than Eastern Germans or Poles, no doubt about it. The real question IMHO however is: Besides the historical debate do we really want to open the can of worms and turn history in a political debat just like in the middle east?

I know, there is a number of sensitive issues with Poles and I frankly am quite embarrassed by Erika Steinbach personally. But: Germany isn't intent on revising the past and the Oder-Neisse line is the definite border between Poland and Germany (even though you cheated with regard to Stettin and Swinemuende *LOL). And I say this with the utmost respect: Poland has to overcome its paranoia as to the German intentions, otherwise this is going to poison German-Polish relations for decades to come.


45 posted on 08/10/2006 7:36:04 AM PDT by wolf78
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To: dfwgator

I don't know. Maybe because the effects can still be felt. My mothers family was expelled. I can say that my grandmother did not hold a grudge against the Czech, probably because she fled from the advancing Russian army rather than from the people her family had lived amongst for generations. But that experience also forced her to become hard and destroyed something inside of her, because she was never able to visit her beloved place of birth ever again. Aside from the fact that her life was pretty hard because she had to raise three children largely on her own. I think the following 5-10 years will do wonders to heal the wounds of WW2, because soon there will be no one left who really experienced the trauma of being driven out of his or her home.


46 posted on 08/10/2006 7:38:22 AM PDT by Schweinhund
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To: wolf78
even though you cheated with regard to Stettin and Swinemuende *LOL).

Well I admit "Stettin" is a heck of a lot easier to spell than "Szczecin." :)

47 posted on 08/10/2006 7:41:25 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: Michael81Dus

48 posted on 08/10/2006 7:43:56 AM PDT by Grzegorz 246
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To: Grzegorz 246

Actually, my grandmother confirmed that the Russians attacked her convoi with planes.


49 posted on 08/10/2006 7:46:05 AM PDT by Schweinhund
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To: Schweinhund

Maybe Gerhard will ask his new master to apologize ? :(


50 posted on 08/10/2006 7:48:19 AM PDT by Grzegorz 246
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