Sunday 8 November 2009

Erika Steinbach, leave us alone!

Erika Steinbach is the head of the German Federation for Expellees, and for years she is ruining German relations to our Polish neighbours.

Her confrontative course regarding the representation of interests of Germans (and their children) who were expelled from what would become Poland at the end and after World War II is a disgrace for us Germans who are working for a united Europe with where nobody needs to be afraid of neighbouring countries.

Steinbach has now repeated her claim that she wants to sit in the Board of the new Polish-German Foundation for Expellees that will try to retrace the fate of expellees at the end of World War II, in a way that doesn't put the emphasis on blaming each other or bringing up the idea of restitution but that focuses on the tragic stories in order to allow a proper culture of remembrance.

Yet, somebody like Steinbach who is not interested in good relations but in confrontation is embarrassing, and I can only hope that our new government will manage to keep her out of the new foundation in order to show to our Polish neighbours that in the European Union of the 21st century we Germans don't support those who live in the past but that we look ahead and look forward in expanding good relation to Poland - something foreign minister Westerwelle has made clear when he spent his first visit in office to Poland.

I am glad that although Erika Steinbach is often presented in Poland as the voice of Germans, she doesn't have much room in our own media - and I hope that our government will make clear that she would be the wrong choice for the new foundation and against the whole idea of the creating such an organisation!


Unknown said...

Thank you Julien.

Now, that Lisbon is finally ratified
(and considering the character of the last obstruction) may indeed be time to bring to close this unending recounting (by all sides) of rights and wrongs which happened, before, during and after WWII.
It has been 60 years - a lifetime!.

In Czechia as well, this is still live issue and source of insecurity, as this
-- very long , recent, blogpost, in czech -- indicates and describes.


Anonymous said...

She must go for sure.

I'm really fed up with extremists like her or Kaczyskis feeding each other, same with tabloids spreading bias, especially from the same owner...

At least she is taking about the same thing all the time, Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his henchmen are just changing subjects of their scaremongering campaigns - it is german revisionists once, Russians later, swineflu now, economic disaster earlier or 'destruction of Poland' brought by Donald Tusk if there is nothng else - basically everything what can make media busy.

On the other hand JK became the most hated man in Poland thanks to that uniting the society as he wanted, but united against him which... he didn't plan.

Some people should just retire and write books for their followers and supporters.

I think that with the new coalition in Germany and certain demise of the Law and Justice in Poland the sad subject of relatively short (barely two- two and a half centuries) German-Polish animosity could finally end.

Anti-stalinist, anti-nationalist said...

You are a shame to all Germans. I'm not surprised that you are linking to a Wikipedia article that is regularly vandalized/hijacket by Polish right-wing extremists/nationalists. Europe doesn't need any more Polish nationalists like you. Human rights are universal and indivisible, without human rights we cannot build a peaceful Europe. Erika Steinbach is a true European and a champion for human rights for all peoples.

Julien Frisch said...

I am not linking to Wikipedia because it is hijacked but because I usually link to Wikipedia articles when I talk about names that are not known to a wider audience.

I think that indeed Erika Steinbach is a bit over-demonised in Poland, but I also think that she has contributed to this picture over the last 20 years and that she is thus the wrong choice for the post.

And if you knew my blog you would know that I am not a nationalist but a convinced European - but I also suppose that you're not interested in this kind of position.

Anonymous said...

I think your view of Steinbach is too severe. Yes, she refused to acknowledge the Oder-Neisse line in 1991, and has voiced support for compensation claims. But she has since made clear that she now accepts the fact of the border, and she has clearly distanced herself from the Preussische Treuhand. It seems it is not just Poles how are harsh on Steinbach, it is Germans, too. Let me stress that I have long harboured massive doubts about Steinbach. There is something about her moral fervour which disturbs me. Yet the murder, rape, brutalisation and expulsion of Germans is - let's face it - not justified or explained away by references to Nazi crime. And the Czechs and Poles at national level need to do more to acknowledge crimes done to Germans. At local level, there is true conciliation going on between Poles and Germans, and Czechs and Germans. At the same time, I would wish for a clear apology from the Germans for crimes against Czech and Polish civilians; the forced labour discussions did prompt apologies, sie schienen mir aber nicht umfassend genug.

Bill Niven (blog at

Anonymous said...

Hier besteht nur Splitter der Wahrheit in diesem BLOG. Viel Gefühl, kein kritisches Denken. Liest irgendjemand wirkliche Geschichte mehr? Ist irgendjemand stolz, ein Deutscher mehr zu sein? Es ist wahr, dass Erika Steinbach wild ist. Wie sind die scheinbar unschuldigen vertriebenen von anderen vertriebenen ethnischen Gruppen etwas verschiedenen Deutschen? Die Antwort ist sie sind nicht verschieden, außer sind sie Deutsche. Deutschland für zu lang ist der Sündenbock Europas gewesen. Diejenigen, die glauben, dass Krieg wegen der Europäischen Union verschwinden wird, sind wahnhaft und unangebracht. Der E.U. ist dabei, die Leute der individuellen Freiheit und Freiheit zu berauben. Erinnern Sie sich an die klugen Ideen von Milton Friedman, 'Die Essenz der politischen Freiheit die Abwesenheit des Zwangs eines Mannes durch seine Mitmenschen ist. Die grundsätzliche Gefahr für die politische Freiheit ist die Konzentration der Macht. Die Existenz eines großen Masses der Macht in den Händen relativ weniger Personen ermöglicht ihnen, es zu verwenden, um ihre Mitmenschen zu zwingen. Die Bewahrung der Freiheit verlangt entweder die Beseitigung der Macht, wo das möglich ist oder seine Streuung, wo es nicht beseitigt werden kann. '