Point of View
It’s not (only) about Erika Steinbach. Three myths in the German discourse on the resettlements
The activity of the Federation of Expellees and its chairperson Erika Steinbach, including efforts aimed at establishing the Centre Against Expulsions have been and will continue to be a source of controversy in Germany’s domestic policy, as well as in Polish–German and Czech–German relations. Steinbach has become a central figure in German inter-party conflicts and in disputes with the country’s immediate neighbours. In her efforts to gain more publicity for injustice and suffering in the German past she has resorted to controversial methods and has thus latched onto another stage in the historical debate on the consequences of World War II. This time it is related to and interpreted from the point of view of the German victims.
The consequences of the present debate on how Germany suffered during the war do matter and will continue to matter both for Germany itself and for Germany’s relations with its near neighbours. Contrary to popular belief, the debate, still underway and in the shape imposed by Erika Steinbach, is likely to bring some benefit to Poland.