Monday, August 31, 2009

70 years on, Poland's WWII wounds haven't healed

The Associated Press, By Vanessa Gera (31/8/2009)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- Back home in Germany, Erika Steinbach is hardly a household name. But in neighboring Poland she is a national hate figure, caricatured on magazine covers as a Nazi in SS uniform.

Her offense, in Polish eyes, is that she claims to speak for the millions of ethnic Germans who were expelled from their homes in Poland and elsewhere in eastern Europe after World War II. These accusers say she is revising history and drawing a moral parallel between the cruelties the Germans inflicted and the sufferings they later endured.

...And what horrors they were. Less than three weeks after the Germans attacked, the Soviet army invaded from the east. The Nazis regarded Poles as an inferior race. Centuries of shared history, during which innumerable Germans had settled in what is now Poland, became a master-slave relationship. The Germans blitzed Polish cities and built Auschwitz on Polish soil. At the end of the war, 6 million Polish citizens out of a prewar population of 35 million were dead - half of them Jews, half Christians... Click here for full story