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Reconciliation in Bloodlands

Assessing Actions and Outcomes in Contemporary Central-Eastern Europe


Edited By Jacek Kurczewski

Central-Eastern Europe, in the mid-20 th century, was a scene of Holocaust, mass killings, war, deportations and forced resettlements under the competing totalitarian invasions and afterwards. It was also the area where churches, politicians and citizens were engaged in reconciliation between antagonized religions and nations. This book presents several attempts to heal relations between Poles, Jews, Germans, Czechs, Ukrainians, Russians and Latvians as well as between Catholics, Protestants and Mariavites. Re-conciliatory practices of John Paul II and other Catholic leaders as well as Protestant churches are analysed in the first part of the book. Most of the remaining studies are focused on particular localities in Upper Silesia, Cieszyn Silesia, former Polish Livland and on the Polish-Ukrainian borderland. These detailed contributions combine sociological methods with anthropological insight and historical context. The authors are sociologists, psychologists and theologians and this leads to a fully interdisciplinary approach in the assessment of the recent state of inter-group relations in the region as well as in the proposed theory of peacebuilding and reconciliation.
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Compelled to be Neighbours: A Small Polish Town in Former Germany


Upper Silesia is the small but important country that was since Middle Ages divided between several small duchies belonging to first Polish Piast dynasty and that in the years 1289-1339 were one by one swallowed up by the Bohemian rulers, finally by Jang de Blannen, that is king John of Luxembourg and with him into the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation and after Luxembourgs in 1526 went to Hapsburgs who fortified themselves in Austria but lost almost whole Silesia to Prussia after war of 1741. Century later the area witnessed beginning of the rapid industrialization based upon the rich coal mining opportunities, The area was – in contrast to the Lower Silesia which was more thoroughly Germanized in the organic historical process – mostly Polish- speaking, though the common folk idiom was far from the literary language used in the Commonwealth. In 1744 Prussian king inviting at the same time tens thousands of new settlers from the German countries banned Polish from the courts, in 1763 compulsory general elementary education in German was introduced. The Upper Silesia is one of the exemplary place of the transient settlements, that unknown in the Western Europe except for Rhine-Mosel French-German borderland, are since World Wars standard element of Central-Eastern European landscape. But all begun earlier as German Chancellor Bismarck ordered first modern forced expulsion sending from here 3159 Poles and Jews back beyond the Russian and 3.340 beyond Austrian border in the years 1885-1887 (Galos 1954:table 94). In the Upper Silesia (Górny...

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