Lawsuit Reopens Old Wounds in German-...

Lawsuit Reopens Old Wounds in German-Polish Dispute

There are 96 comments on the New York Times story from Dec 24, 2006, titled Lawsuit Reopens Old Wounds in German-Polish Dispute. In it, New York Times reports that:

In a sign of how badly German-Polish relations have frayed in recent months, a long-shot lawsuit by an obscure German claims group has prompted Poland to call into question a treaty meant to settle forever the ...

Join the discussion below, or Read more at New York Times.

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Adam

Adelaide, Australia

#1 Dec 25, 2006
A German explanation of the problem: "vitriol of Polish leaders"
I can prove that it is the German government that is vitriolic in their policies. The prove is below.
Let us look how the Polish government deals with the problem with Poles (warning: Poles not Germans) who lost their property in those parts of Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine that were Poland before 1939.
The answer is this: Polish government takes legal responsibility for Polish properties the Poles (who were also expelled) lost in the pre-1939 Polish territories that are now part of Ukraine, Lithuania and Belarus. These seemingly "vitriolic' Polish leaders have a wise policy that aims to premote friendship with people in those countries. Polish govenment could take the stance the German govenment took and the Polish government could have said: "we do not take responsibility for those lost Polish properties in Ukraine. People go to Strasburg" Make the Ukrainians, Lithuanians and Belarusians pay for your lost property. But Polish government does not do that. Polish government pays Poles for the lost properties in the East so those people do not sue those countries. The Polish govenment does not want to make those countries in the east to have problems and worries about paying for those properites. It wants friendly relationship to grow between them and Poland.
Whearas rich Germany, and its govenment, which according to the article,seems not to be vitriolic, takes a position of a trouble maker and says to Germans from the pre-1937 Ostgebiete: let Poland pay you for your lost properties, go to Strasburg. Let the Poles pay you. We, the German government, have nothing to do with it."
So which government, Polish or German is really vitriolic? Which govenment causes unease, trouble and so on by hiding behind an individual right to sue foreign government.
I wrote this hoping that some intelligent people would read my post and understand the matter. I have no illusions about NYT and their German correspondent.
alex

Saarbrücken, Germany

#2 Dec 25, 2006
Adam wrote:
A German explanation of the problem: "vitriol of Polish leaders"
I can prove that it is the German government that is vitriolic in their policies. The prove is below.
Let us look how the Polish government deals with the problem with Poles (warning: Poles not Germans) who lost their property in those parts of Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine that were Poland before 1939.
The answer is this: Polish government takes legal responsibility for Polish properties the Poles (who were also expelled) lost in the pre-1939 Polish territories that are now part of Ukraine, Lithuania and Belarus. These seemingly "vitriolic' Polish leaders have a wise policy that aims to premote friendship with people in those countries. Polish govenment could take the stance the German govenment took and the Polish government could have said: "we do not take responsibility for those lost Polish properties in Ukraine. People go to Strasburg" Make the Ukrainians, Lithuanians and Belarusians pay for your lost property. But Polish government does not do that. Polish government pays Poles for the lost properties in the East so those people do not sue those countries. The Polish govenment does not want to make those countries in the east to have problems and worries about paying for those properites. It wants friendly relationship to grow between them and Poland.
Whearas rich Germany, and its govenment, which according to the article,seems not to be vitriolic, takes a position of a trouble maker and says to Germans from the pre-1937 Ostgebiete: let Poland pay you for your lost properties, go to Strasburg. Let the Poles pay you. We, the German government, have nothing to do with it."
So which government, Polish or German is really vitriolic? Which govenment causes unease, trouble and so on by hiding behind an individual right to sue foreign government.
I wrote this hoping that some intelligent people would read my post and understand the matter. I have no illusions about NYT and their German correspondent.
Erm, at this time, wasn't it the Russians who told the Polish "government" what to do?

Well, it's a basic question if the German government should give those people money or not. They're not giving money but they also don't say "go, get it from the people who took it away" as you claim. They say: "bad luck, it's gone"! Anyway, they can't stop a small group of people to start actions which are not good for the polish-german relations. That's individual freedom in the western world, isn't it? All the government can do is not to support this group and that's exactly what they're doing.

Question: The Polish government says this group is not right and will loose the case. So why getting nervous at all?
Adam

Adelaide, Australia

#3 Dec 25, 2006
Hi!
Thank you for your reply. You must do your research on the attitude of the German government better. It is German courts including the highest, that informed in writing German expellees that their claims are legitimate but they do not concern the German government. So this is what it means in practice: "We are not a party here, but go and get it from the Poles, your claims are legitimate". Many German expelles got this kind of decisions on paper. They were waving these papers in from of Poles' eyes. I am sure that they also included German court decisions into their paperwork they filed at Strasburg, this in a sense strenghtens their case.
The German government could solve the problem with few laws. But it did not want to do it. So whose policies are vitriolic? Who does not care about sensivities of their neighbours hanging before the Poles' noses threat of lawsuits.
Remember also that no matter what Ms. Merkel says officially Erika Steinbach belongs to the leadership (she is in the leadership) of the CDU. Also the Union is financed by the German government. You may say that the Prussian Trust and their claims and the Union of Expellees are two different things - but that is a fable for kids. Politics is a much more complicted matter to take at face value Merkel claims. It is deeds that matter. And I told you the matter could be solved by the German authorities.
I bet you also do not know that Erika is not even an expellee. Both of her parents were not from Ostgebiete. As a matter of fact she was born in Ostgebiete but in a house of a Polish family, a family which was expelled by Germans from that house, in Rumia. Erika's father was a solder and came to Rumia as an occupant, he was posted there. She was born around 1943. So is your president (Kohler)- he is not an expellee, at least not from Poland. He was born in Skierbieszow in Lublin District, Poland (in an area that has never belonged to Germany). He was born in a house taken from Poles who were expelled from Lublin district by Odilo Globocnik in 1942/1943.
Having elites with this kind of past I would expect the German leadership to be much more sensitive. Talking about the right to sue is really only a cover here. If the German expelle has the right to sue, then why a Pole from the western Poland has to worry about his property. That Pole had been himself an expellee from Ukraine, Belarus or Lithuiania or he had been a victim of German policies (often exterminatory or eviction policies). Why not give him a peace of mind if the situation can be solved in other ways. The Poles do it in similar matters with their eastern neighbours.
Not wanting to solve the matter and shouting in international press that all of this is just Polish government vitriol is really very insolent.
A Kraut

Germany

#4 Dec 25, 2006
I really don't understand you Adam.
With both countries in the EU border bitching should be thing of the past.

I really believe it when the Prussian Trust spokesman Pawelka says that the main reason is to bring this part of the history to the light since it was for so many years a taboo.

I think that this is also the reason for so much huffing and puffing from the polish side (also in regards to the future center for expellees in Berlin).
Something bad happened, something most Poles don't want to reminded of and more important don't want the Germans to remember!
Adam

Adelaide, Australia

#5 Dec 25, 2006
I do not agree. I think Polish-German relations went more or less O.K. until the guys from the Union of Expellees and the Prussian Trust entered the stage with the exhibition.
In Poland, in 1990s and until around 2003 or so, articles both in the press and in academic journals started to appear and historians started to research the matter of the expulsions of Germans deeper and deeper. There is a Polish historical book on German expulsion etc. Also, Poles are not hiding German past in western Poland. German architecture was restored with great detail after 1989. There was a genuine grassroot interest in things German on those territories, it was spearheaded by regional historians.
But around 2003, the Poles realised that the German government is playing a hide and seek game vis a vis expulsions and people stopped trusting you on that matter.
I do not trust Pawelka nor people who are associated with him. Only days ago, one person from that circle (who filed a claim in Strasburg) said that the 1937 border still exists. He also said that it was the Poles who started the war in 1939. So why should I trust people like that.
The reason I am talking about all these is that I think that the German government could solve the problem. If it does not, the way I see it, the future does not look bright for Polish-German relationship. What will happen is that the Poles will respond with their own private lawsuits gainst Germany for their loss of property and lost lives during WW II and the circle of lawsuits will start moving. This will not be good for Germany as well.
As for historical memory, I can understand that some people are not satisified with Polish memory of German expulsions. But, mind you, satisfaction is a relative thing. For example, I am not satisfied with German memory about German extermination campaigns and expulsion of Poles. You came to terms with the crime (Holocaust) you have committed towards Poles of Jewish extraction because you had no choice. You do not know much about your deeds towards ethnic Poles. I mean here concrete research, articles, books etc.
Barbara

Buffalo, MN

#6 Dec 27, 2006
Let's not have another Israel-Palestine. If Poland and Germany continue to go back to the past, then let us talk about how the native inhabitants of Western Poland were pushed out by the German Prussians, back in the 1800's. We are in the millions, living in America. We still remember our roots, go back there to touch the hallowed ground, and return to America. America is a wonderful place to live because the majority of us respect each others differences, and even celebrate them. We would never think of telling the people of Western Poland that this land is the land of our ancestors, and we want it back.Stop fighting.
Scott

Lady Lake, FL

#7 Sep 14, 2007
This is all much to do about nothing. Although I believe that the borders should be pushed back to where they historically were for both countries so that both peoples can live is the lands of their ancestors, this is just not going to happen. At least not for the near future. The unfortuante situation for the germans is that they now are crammed into a country 1/2 the size of their prior lands with 80 million people. The other unfortunate thing is that the poles and the germans still have issues because of Stalin. In 50 years it won't matter because europe will be mostly muslim immigrants and therefore europe has bigger issues.
A Kraut

Germany

#8 Sep 14, 2007
All the treaties are not worth the ink they were subscribed to.
Because the people who are concerned, the Expellees never got asked...

So stuff it!
A Kraut

Germany

#9 Sep 14, 2007
Now there is the EU...every EU-citizen has the right to settle where he wants to and to buy land where he wants to.
When Germans in the near future want to resettle in what is now polish they can do that and there is not a thing the Poles can do about it (and if money is involved they won't want to anyway)...
A Kraut

Germany

#10 Sep 14, 2007
Sometimes I wonder about the naivitè about the Poles.
Did they really think the entry into the club and all the money they get comes without a price tag...for nothing???
Abe

Bronx, NY

#11 Sep 16, 2007
A Kraut wrote:
Sometimes I wonder about the naivitè about the Poles.
Did they really think the entry into the club and all the money they get comes without a price tag...for nothing???
Well when the Poles look at all of the horrible things the GERMans did to the Poles where the GERMans virtually gave ZERO compensation for the murdering and suffering of the Poles by GERMan hands - uh yes maybe they thought the GERMans had a conscious about their horrible deeds and might give some aid (at least some crumbs by moral standards)- if in fact the GERMans want to be seen as moral and ethical people.

Also the Poles, after suffering from the GERMan occupation, got to suffer another 50 years during the Soviet occupation, ALL BECAUSE OF THE STUPID GERMan invasion of Poland that the GERMans are now desperately trying to play down, white-wash and forget. Estimates of Polish suffering (not including millions of murdered Poles) in terms of infrastructure, comes out to about 600 BILLION dollars in todays dollars.

Also the Poles saw most of GERMany party on after World War II (despite starting the war) by receiving BILLIONS of dollars of welfare money and other goodies from the US.

In light of all this, what's so wrong with a few crumbs given to Poland by the "master race" after all they did???
Ballermann666

Berlin, Germany

#12 Sep 25, 2007
Abe wrote:
<quoted text>
Well when the Poles look at all of the horrible things the GERMans did to the Poles where the GERMans virtually gave ZERO compensation
Poland already got 1/3rd of Germany for compensation but still felt an urge to take over the area around Stettin by force, an illegal operation that was tolerated by the allied forces and the USSR. But thats not enough. German chancellors showed regret (remember Brandt's kneefall in front of the holocaust memorial in Warsaw?) and strongly supported Polands bid for EU-membership with numerous recommendations and financial aids and gifts. Plus, Poland will be the EU's biggest receiver of structural funds from 2008 onwards. Yeah, guess who's paying the most, the EU's biggest depositor - Germany. Yet you guys still have the guts to incessantly demand, whine, spread hate and intrigate.

And no, we don't want Silesia and Eastprussia back. We have to cope with other, more important affairs. Be happy with it
Aureliusz

Adelaide, Australia

#13 Sep 26, 2007
Correction, we took back original land belonging to Poland, and correction number two...Ballermann, stick your financial gifts and aid up where the sun don't shine, how about compensation, for the destruction you caused, But of course not, because you know that runs into the Billions of dollars, better to give a few gifts and still cry, whine, spread hate.

and no you won't get what originally never belonged to you. and especially Silesia.
Breslau

United States

#15 Feb 24, 2008
You Poles really are from another planet. Germans built the infrastructure and the cities in the areas you now occupy illegally. Just because some Polish tribe may have built some huts there in 987 A.D. just doesn't cut it.

“...a river of conscience ...”

Since: Oct 07

Scotland

#16 Feb 25, 2008
Breslau wrote:
You Poles really are from another planet. Germans built the infrastructure and the cities in the areas you now occupy illegally. Just because some Polish tribe may have built some huts there in 987 A.D. just doesn't cut it.
Which planet do you come from, Rip Van? And how long did it take to drag up a story from 2006? Must have been the sleeping pills!
Tikva

Keene, NH

#17 Feb 25, 2008
What good does aid and money do for the people who lost their families, or lost years of their lives after being expelled from Germany? Money can't replace people. Ever. And the estimates of teh damage are more than they've been given so far, anyway.

The money's unlikely to last much longer. Look at the germans here already posting, like ballerman, unhappy that germany is giving support to teh poles. Once they got tired of helping them, they'll just start trying to massacre them again and try to reclaim Eprussia and Silesia.
silkyjohnson

Kitchener, Canada

#18 Feb 25, 2008
Its not theirs to reclaim

Who cares if they lived there for a bit
It was our land in the first place
A Kraut

Schwerin, Germany

#19 Feb 25, 2008
No it was not. Before the slavs moved west germanics already lived there.
And when you want to go even further back why not claiming some parts in Africa?

“aut disce aut discede”

Since: Jun 07

Sirmium

#20 Feb 26, 2008
Tsk, tsk it looks like there's plenty of vitriol to spare, both at the governmental and at the personal level. People just need to calm down and stop with the rhetoric.
SilkyJohnson

Kitchener, Canada

#21 Feb 26, 2008
same old argument from u

hold on ill find another quote that u didn`t answer too in regards to dlavs living on Their own lands for much longer then u germanics

just because u guys took over shit for 1 or 2 hundred years does not erase the fact that we lived on those lands for a much longer time

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