24 January 2010

German-Polish Reconciliation


Władysław Bartoszewski has just published his new book O Niemcach i Polakach. Wspomnienia. Nadzieje. Prognozy (with the help of Rafał Rogulski and Jan Rydel, Cracow: Wydawnictwo Literackie, 2010) potentially roughly translated into About Germans and Poles. Memories. Hopes. Prospects. Few people have such credentials to write about Polish-German contacts as this survivor of Auschwitz, veteran of the Warsaw Uprising and activist in the underground Council to Aid Jews during the Second World War and later professor at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in the 1980s, Poland’s foreign minister in 1995 and currently the Polish government’s representative for Polish-German relations. His book traces the evolution of the interactions between the two nations from the war, through the visits to Poland of East German activists of Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste (an organisation confronting the legacy of Nazism) and the West German aid to the Polish Solidarity movement, to the Polish-German cooperation after 1989. As reviews of the book suggest, Bartoszewski confirms in it his reputation as a perceptive observer and great story-teller. One can find few more insightful pictures of how much changed between Poland and Germany in the last seventy years. A review of the book can be found here.

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