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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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Reconciliation in the Bloodlands – Concluding Remarks


The last paragraph of the preceding chapter points to the necessity of permanent vigil concerning the state of mutual relations between people. It is certain that once antagonism had been detected or was manifested publicly it needs to be monitored continuously. One never can be certain that reconciliation had been achieved forever. In fact three levels of social reconciliation should be distinguished: (1) the state of mutual isolation in which still throughout the 19th century most of the Central Eastern European communities lived. Here, the different collectivities live side by side not maintaining personal relations and leading closed community life usually focused on temple or church. From time to time the pogrom occurs as the temporary lifting the lid from boiling hatred and disdain for the weaker others. (2) Second stage is that of the mutual tolerance linked with everyday cooperation in the mundane matters. Here each individual is allowed to choose own community of allegiance and to practice its patterns tolerated in this by the others of different loyalty. Some common good is needed to keep such community of tolerance working, at least communal sewage system if not at the advanced level of integration schooling or health. (3) The advanced integration in the end may lead to the so-called active tolerance, that is support for the differences. This is more demanding social ideal and it is somewhat risky as in the end the differences may disappear though they will remain on the common fusion menu. That however would mean...

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