Polish memory of World War II has returned with force. German-Polish relations are overshadowed by the perception of Germany’s contrition – or lack thereof – for wartime damages, with Polish commentators warning that a process of reinterpretation of wartime memory is underway in Germany. Anti-Russian feelings are also widespread and strengthened through Russia’s refusal to make even a symbolic gesture of wartime reparation. Polish-Ukrainian antipathy over the Volhynia massacres is still alive though in decline thanks to efforts of politicians and academics. But the biggest problem in the Polish concept of history is Poles’ wartime relationship to Jews, namely the suffering inflicted upon Jews by Poles themselves. It’s time to wake up to the notion that suffering experienced does not negate suffering inflicted, writes Krzysztof Ruchniewicz.
(b.1967) is director of the Willy Brandt Centre for German and European Studies, University of Wroclaw.