Shots from behind the ear
Are Poles and Germans brothers?
“Let’s not pretend that Germany is our friend. If this process continues as it goes now, Poland may lose its independence. These are the trends in the European Union at the moment,” Poland’s Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said recently.
Although we have been living side by side for a thousand years, the Germans and Poles are separated by one hundred thousand light-years. The Germans never treated us like partners. For the most part, they did not notice us unless we were in their way. They saw in us the source of all the plagues that befell their German homeland.
After German reunification, the Germans are generally okay. Or at least they want to pass for being ok. They are, of course, loud, arrogant, wealthy, and proud of themselves… But these are probably the only sins they committed after the end of the war – if, of course, one forgets the fact that they did not de-nazify themselves, did not pay us any war reparations, and forget what they had done to us during the first half of the twentieth century.
Poland? What is it?
For the Germans, Poland is a neighbor from another galaxy. A creation that the statistical Müller does not even want to hear about for obvious reasons. And if someone forces him to confront reality – by showing, for example, a number tattooed on our forearms – his imagination immediately begins to produce some quite fantastic visions of Poland and the Poles. She is viewed as a steppe, empty, endless, stretching beyond the horizon as far as Siberia, where there are swamps with slushy roads, where a chubby peasant sits in a cart drawn by a scrawny horse. Further on, there is a sandy piece of land, with a barefoot woman wearing a flowered scarf is reaping stalks of grain with a sickle. A bit further, a simpleton soiled with marine grease sleeps soundly on a haystack. Above him, an anti-Semite priest poisons his faithful’s minds singing devotional songs, calling on the Catholic Poles to rise up and fight with the battle cry that the homeland is in need.
The Germans also imagine us as car thieves, prostitutes, and drunks … They have a similar opinion about all nations living east of the Oder River. Why? Because they need that “something” to justify concepts such as Drang nach Osten, Lebensraum, Ostsiedlung, Kulturkampf, the mass expulsions of Poles, or more broadly, Slavophobia.
God made the world for the Germans
The German philosophy is simple, albeit not very original. The world was created by God as a space for Germans. Only they know how to arrange it, develop it, and make its non-German population happy.
First, there is the need to finish what the “Great Highway Builder” started in 1939 – culturally inferior nations must be made fully-valuable citizens of the uniting Europe. They should be taught to respect democracy, the rule of law, and European identity. And when they become civilized, induce them to consume German goods, services, and other inventions.
A retired German history teacher explained this to me 30 years ago. Listening to him, I wondered if this was a repetition of history or just a freak of nature. However, if my interlocutor was to be a lonely boulder in the calm sea of German decency, what then were the fires set on Polish cars, the beatings of Polish tourists, or finally the anti-Polish demonstrations in East Berlin that one heard about at the time?
Hitler’s spirit is awakening
But that wasn’t the most terrifying thing. A pale fear fell on me on July 8, 1990, when Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 in Rome, winning the soccer football world championship. I remember the black, white, and red banners of the German Empire and the flaming torches in the hands of shaved drunken football hooligans. And their cries: “Sieg heil, Sieg heil, Sieg heil!” as they walked down the middle of Mannheim’s main street, greeted by passing car horn toots. Then I thought to myself that this over 80 million strong mass of people without any historical memory was out of control again …
I then wrote in my journal:
It is not too late
Three decades have passed since then. The European Union has undoubtedly been dominated by the Federal Republic of Germany. As noted by Zbigniew Ziobro, its goal is to build its position as a superpower not for the general good of the Union. According to this politician, an example of caring only for German interests are anti-Ukrainian moves encouraging Putin to aggression. Ziobro also emphasized that Berlin aims to federalize the EU, and thus finally accomplish the liquidation and subjugation of sovereign states, including Poland.
I do not know whether it is worth messing up with Germany in the current geopolitical situation. Perhaps a greater dose of political realism would be advisable in this matter. However for sure – as pointed out by the head of the Solidarity Poland party Zbigniew Ziobro – “it is not too late for reflection and changes in relations between Warsaw and Brussels.”
Krzysztof Maria Załuski
This article first appeared in Polish in Dziennik Baltycki here: https://dziennikbaltycki.pl/strzaly-zza-ucha-polak-niemiec-dwa-bratanki-felieton-krzysztofa-marii-zaluskiego/ar/c1-16057835?fbclid=IwAR2vposNLsw3Xkf–BGtcO6QAp10J621pIjp_kNOz_wUwXME6XRyzSXc1XY
About the Author:
The author is a political scientist and writer. He publishes extensively in Polish and English. For over 20 years he had been living outside of Poland, primarily in Germany. He appeared on the radio and published in Poland, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, and Canada. He has published five books including one in German. In Germany, he published a quarterly “Bi” on social and cultural issues. Upon returning to Poland he led the Energa Foundation. He also served as a manager of TVP3 in Gdansk, Poland.