Thursday, September 27, 2012

"Remembering Europe's Touchy Issue of Expulsion" from Deutsche Welle

A group of Germans is pictured leaving their village in East Prussia in 1946 .Source
The above is the original caption. They aren't just "Germans," though. They are all women. 

"Remembering Europe's touchy issue of expulsion"
From Deutsche Welle
September 27, 2012

Excerpts:

The idea for a documentation center where the fate of displaced people is told first came up 13 years ago. It was the end of the 1990s when Erika Steinbach, a conservative politician and president of the League of Expellees - an advocate group for Germans and their descendents who were expelled from eastern Europe after World War II, proposed her plans for a Center Against Expulsions. And her plan met with firm resistance.

Voices both in Germany and neighboring countries quickly pointed out that such an institution could present a lopsided view of history. In Poland, Steinbach was accused of labeling Germans as the victims in the aftermath of World War II, without adequately emphasizing that the fate of the ethnic Germans living in eastern Europe after the war was a consequence of the heinous crimes the Nazis had committed in Europe.

For years, Poland has been a major opponent of the plan to build a Center Against Expulsions in Germany and the political elite in Poland has lobbied at the highest political level to prevent Steinbach from implementing her initiative….

The reconciliatory aim of the exhibition was captured in the slogan: "Remember expulsions - Respect expulsions - Deepen reconciliation and understanding."…

Ethnic cleansing in the Balkans is a major issue, according to the proposal. Millions of Muslims were forced from their homes as a result of the Serbian uprising against Ottoman rule in 1804, the Greek independence movement starting in 1821 and the Balkan Wars from 1912 to 1913. The Armenian genocide in Turkey in 1915 and 1916 is also to be touched upon.

The millions of people affected by Stalin's policies in the 1930s are another focus of the exhibition. "Forced labor, deportation, gulags, starvation and mass murder were part of the Stalinist terror," the proposal said…

See the full text of the article here.

Thanks to Otto Gross for alerting me to this article. 

12 comments:

  1. It took me a long time to realise what a terrible revenge was taken on German civilians after WW2. And I suppose that is because it was hidden, as it did not fit the simple narrative of Goodies versus Baddies that we were taught.

    But, yes, either all horrors and cruelties should be memorialised, or none should be. So, as the world has gone down that route, I can see no reason for not memorialising these expulsions.

    Though how much better it would have been had we - the children of Adam - accepted that love "does not keep account of the injury", as God teaches us.

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  2. Its not really touchy I think. Let me explain.In Germany, Germans
    are taught virtually NOTHING about f.e Polish suffering (or Slavic suffering or the one of Gypsies)-friends of mine were completely flabbergasted to hear that Poles died in camps and even more when I told them about Generalplan Ost,resulting in more and more Germans believing that "Poles were as bad as Germans" so they should apologize and start doing some serious Vergangenheitsbewaltigung.Seriously. They dont know about the fact that (google f.e Masacre of Piasenica) very,very many Germans from the German Minority became murderers,slave-holders,rapist (with Poles/Slavs being the victimes)-this is the reason why Poland refrains (and hopefully will continue to do so) from an all-encompassing apology for ALL expelees. They dont understand that Poland had NO say about their removal (Churchill f.e thought it to be a neat idea)-they dont know that the very same people being horrible towards tham (google f.e Salomon Morel) were ALSO murdering Polish patriots-Still, democratic Poland should apologize for them! I personally believe she should not.
    About Steinbach-She is NO real expelee,in my humble opinion-she was born the daughter of an OCCUPATION soldier. If she had to suffer, I can sympathize,but lets keep things in perspective here.Also, the Bund der Vertriebenen (council of expelees) was started by mostly high ranking former nazis and mass-murderers-not really an enticing background for German-Polish debate.Now, at the brink of dieing out, they want to leave a permanent mark.In order to smoke-screen their intentions (f.e to put partial blame on Poland! Have a look at their historical revisionism here-the main claim being Poland had wanted to go to war anyways because she wanted to rob Germany of some land at that the change concerning the borders is illegal:
    http://www.german-foreign-policy.com/de/fulltext/58420)
    they are using the suffering of other peoples (like the Armenians) thus equating the situation of both peoples-which is plainly wrong,as the Armenians,as a group, did nothing to deserve their fate.In my eyes, this is kind of a trick-like "ok, we killed a lot of Poles, but they expelled us-so we are even. It whitens thus German history through the backdoor. Also, the fate of other expelees (like the millions of Poles expelled into the Generalgouvernement to make way for the self-proclaimed Herrenrasse) is not mentioned.
    To be clear here-I am willing to support people who really did nothing wrong to deserve being expelled.Unfortunately, they existed and everything possible should be done to righten wrongs.But I am not willing to 1. give back property to nazi criminals,they should be happy just to be alive. or 2. to recognize 2-generation (!!!) "expellees" of above-mentioned wanting property returned or 3. in general, people who are just looking to make a quick buck as 2 or even 3-generation (seriously...) "expellees" (in the Czech Republic, you first have to apply for citizenship in order to have you ancestors property returned)



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    Replies
    1. Dear Hanna, please do look at this article (and buy the book!)

      http://www.economist.com/node/21563693

      People do know what happened to Poles and Poland during and after WW2. The truth is out there. Even in a world system ruled by "the father of the lie", it can shine through.

      But as someone who is trying to be a footstep follower of Christ, I know I have to use this information in a positive and not a negative way. Its a struggle. But both sides suffered and both sides did terrible things.

      However Poland was in a uniquely terrible position, having been invaded and occupied by Hitler and Stalin working together. And it is good to see that being acknowledged.

      This is especially interesting, and chilling: "She uncovers details that will surprise even history geeks. Some Polish Jews under Soviet occupation found life so dreadful that they sought refuge in Nazi-ruled Poland."

      That is how bad life under the Stalinist regime was. And yet all of Poland was handed over to Stalin after WW2, by the Allies, whereas only part of Germany was.

      I hope this can be a life-saving Red Flag warning about the current system of things on the earth, underlining the wisdom of being "no part" of it.

      What part of it can you trust?

      Delete
    2. Hanna, what is the Massacre you refer to?

      And thank you for seeing what was going on with the mention of the Armenians. It appears to be purely political.

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    3. I think that Hanna meant Massacre in Piaśnica. Unknown in Western countries. Czechs have Lidice. French have Oradour-sur-Glane. Italians have Sant'Anna di Stazzema.
      And what about Poles? We simply lost count.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_murders_in_Pia%C5%9Bnica

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    4. Lukasz, thank you. No, I had never heard of this. I was aware of the many villages destroyed, but not this particular one.

      Delete
  3. Yes, Hanna, if only the politics could be got out of it, as they poison everything. But I don't see how they can, and I don't think they will disappear, until the Kingdom of God is ruling over us, and the earth becomes "the land of straightforwardness".

    In the meantime, I do know that the German people suffered very much during both world wars, and I am sorry for it.

    Maybe if we acknowledged it, then it might free Germans up to acknowledge the horrors that we too went through?

    For one thing, the whole of Poland was handed over to Stalin, whereas only a part of Germany was.

    But, as you know, I am not into all this memorialising. It seems to me to go against the perfect advice in the Inspired Scriptures. And also, when it is done in such a selective, political way, I think it may be making things worse and worse.

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  4. 1) this was done by the Soviets, Americans and British - blaming the Poles without acknowledging who actually caused this (because you are buying gas from and doing business with them) is beyond cynical.

    2) given what the Germans did to the Poles (including for the prior 1000 years), a far more appropriate solution would have been a final solution for the "expellees" - of course, those who could be assimilated into Polish culture, could be brought on board (maybe 10%).

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  5. For those interested in examining facts and myths about the expulsion of the Germans, along with the more-neglected expulsion of the Kresy Poles, please click on my name in this specific posting.

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  6. Ah, dear Goska, sorry for the late answer-I have been thinking about this particular Nazi German crime here-

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QBc6SCbwrA&feature=related

    Łukaszu,You are spot-on: People just dont realize Poles were murdered. Still, I have come to agree with R.Ziemkiewicz and his book "Polactwo"-we are a post-colonial Society with all ist pathologies such as low self-esteem, fear of Standing up for ourselves.I guess we will have to rebuild Poland as a Nation (as were doing people like Dmowski,Zeromski and other intelectualists),and we have to be quick, too-otherwise it can become way to late.

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  7. Sue, Ill be very honest here: I hope this can be a life-saving Red Flag warning about the current system of things on the earth, underlining the wisdom of being "no part" of it.

    "current System of things" "no part of it"? Let me guess-You are a Jehovas Witness,right? I know that Kind of speech-way to well. Have had some very nasty experiences with JW, including a landlord who tried to convert me and also threatened to kill me (yeah, he was mentally insane,also) and some JW coming to our house for years,and cursing us for not
    wanting to convert to their particular brand of millenialistic christianity.Im not saying that all JW are bad, but, as I have come to JW theology and history (the whole one) extremely well I really do not like to read anything connected to it anymore,really.Or things like "proofs" that the endtime is Close at Hand (as it has been for over nearly 120 years).Lets talk about Polonian issues and stick to the Topic,plz ;-)

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    Replies
    1. Hello Hanna, yes, I am a Jehovah's Witness. I do say so at every opportunity - and maybe I ought to say so with every post... its hard to get the balance right. Dr.Goska does not agree with my beliefs any more than you do, and I know that she did not set up her blog to give me a chance to witness. But the issues she is dealing with are so serious that I often cannot discuss them without referring to the Inspired Scriptures. And they are usually so interesting that I do want to discuss them.

      I am sorry you have had bad experiences with Jehovah's Witnesses. If there is a congregation of perfect people anywhere on the earth, then it certainly is not us. We are the fatally flawed children of Adam, and know righteousness is a free gift through the ransom sacrifice, its not something we can earn.

      But isn't all Christianity millenialistic? Aren't all Christian praying for God's Kingdom to rule and for God's will to be done on the earth? We long for the thousand year reign of Jesus and the saints.

      And, with reference to the post above, does it seem strange to you that the nations of Christendom, claiming to be followers of the Prince of Peace, tore themselves apart in two of the most brutal wars the world has ever seen? To bring this right on topic, how could such hatreds and cruelties arise between Poles and Germans when they were supposed to be fellow Christians, members of the one family?

      Delete

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