The image of the Germans in Polish literature
Poland and Falsifications of Polish History
Translated by Carlos W. Porter
This book, based on the author’s firsthand analysis of the sources, offers an excellent analysis of a much neglected topic. The author succeeds in correcting the one-sided and prejudicial views regarding German-Polish relations and conflicts which have long dominated the discussion, both in the media and in historical research. The book gives us a powerful insight into the forces at work that would ultimately result in the genocide of the Eastern German populations of Pomerania and Silesia. To deepen one’s understanding of the issues, and to put this account in a wider context, I suggest reading David Hoggan’s The Forced War, Alfred-Maurice de Zayas’ A Terrible Revenge : The Ethnic Cleansing of the East European Germans, and Thomas Goodrich’s Hellstorm : The Death of Nazi Germany, 1944-1947. Each of these books are unique in each way. Brian Porter’s When Nationalism Began to Hate is also very instructive.
The author of these texts was an ethnic German, born, raised and educated in the territories surrendered to Poland under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, or, in some cases, seized by the Poles by force, in violation of a plebiscite. The author’s brother was murdered in the infamous “Bromberg Sunday” massacres of 3 September 1939, committed according to exact address lists of all ethnic Germans, prepared and distributed long in advance; her parents disappeared and were presumably murdered by the Poles or Russians in the spring of 1945.
Absolutely bilingual in both Polish and German, the author dedicated her life to a comparative study of Polish and German history and literature. The information presented here, in English translation, in book form for the first time, is otherwise available only in relatively inaccessible or highly difficult and complicated works written by specialists, almost never in English. The Image of the Germans in Polish Literature is an absolutely unique piece of literature – to my knowledge the only work of its kind in English – providing a unique insight into events and mentalities which continue to produce repercussions to this day.
These texts are essential reading for anyone interested, not only in the causes of the Second World War, but in arriving at an understanding of certain German actions and attitudes which would otherwise be incomprehensible. Any equation has two sides.
Carlos W. Porter