Cover Osteuropa 5/2017

In Osteuropa 5/2017

Poland, 1945: Event and remembrance

Robert Traba

Deutsche Fassung


Polish society has not processed the trauma of the war. As a result, emotions spill over into bitter conflicts when it comes to history and remembrance. The year of 1945 stands for the return from the horrors of war. However, society was marked by poverty, disintegration and atomisation for years to come. Institutions had fallen apart, the social order and the system of values were shattered. The only experience that bound people together was a sense of Polishness defined along pre-war lines. However, countless Poles had lost their homes in the east of the country, while others were forcibly repatriated to the western territories, which were referred to as the “Recovered Territories”. And among those few Polish Jews who had managed to survive the Holocaust, some were confronted with the experience of being unwelcome guests in their own houses, which their Polish neighbours had made their home. In reality, there is no such thing as a “return” of the Poles. Trauma and taboos have settled like sediment in Polish society. They demand to be examined and processed.

(Osteuropa 5/2017, pp. 3–23)