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The Debate about a Center against Expulsions: An Unexpected Crisis in German-Polish Relations?

Pawel Lutomski
German Studies Review
Vol. 27, No. 3 (Oct., 2004), pp. 449-468
DOI: 10.2307/4140977
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4140977
Page Count: 20
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The Debate about a Center against Expulsions: An Unexpected Crisis in German-Polish Relations?
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Abstract

The growing tendency in the cultural discourses among the Germans to see themselves as victims, and not solely as perpetrators, of World War II causes much bewilderment among their Polish neighbors. A recent proposal to locate a center commemorating victims of the Vertreibungen in Berlin brought about an explosion of outrage in Poland and resulted in an unusual tension in the bilateral relations. This article examines some aspects of this tension and argues that Polish political and cultural elites are not meeting the challenge posed by a cultural process in which important parts of German self-understanding are being redefined.

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