“Falsification of History” (2013)


Germany’s growing political and economic dominance within an expanded European Union intersected with Polish domestic politics at a time when right-wing nationalist movements were fighting to retain Poland’s good image at home and abroad. In recent years, nationalists in the eastern parts of Central Europe have been especially resentful of the growing body of historical research that has uncovered local complicity in the Holocaust. These research findings have been framed by some as victim blaming or even Holocaust denial. Since Germany is seen as the main perpetrator of this perceived smear campaign against the Polish people, German politicians—including Merkel—have been targeted in the right-wing Polish press.

The photograph below shows a man reading the April 8, 2013, issue of the right-wing Polish weekly Uważam Rze. The cover reads: “Falsification of History: How Germans are Turning Themselves into the Victims of the Second World War.” It shows Angela Merkel behind a barbed wire fence, dressed as a concentration camp prisoner. The magazine accused the German television network ZDF of falsifying history in their World War II miniseries “Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter,” or “Our Mothers, our Fathers” (official English title: “Our Generation”).


Source: Date: April 9, 2013. Place: Warsaw. Photo: Bartlomiej Zborowski. Picture Alliance, Media-no. 125949105.

© picture alliance / PAP | BARTLOMIEJ ZBOROWSKI

Jörg Echternkamp and Stephan Jaeger, eds., Views of Violence: Representing the Second World War in German and European Museums and Memorials. New York: Berghahn Books, 2019.

Daniel Logemann, “After the Conflict is Before the Conflict: On the Debate over the Three-Part Miniseries Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter Shown on ZDF German Television,” Cultures of History Forum, 2. September 2013. Available online at: http://www.cultures-of-history.uni-jena.de/debates/poland/after-the-conflict-is-before-the-conflict-on-the-debate-over-the-three-part-miniseries-unsere-muetter-unsere-vaeter-shown-on-zdf-german-television/

Maren Röger, ed., “Polnische Reaktionen auf Unsere Mütter, unsere Väter,” with texts by T. Szarota, M. Urynowicz, P. Brudek, and K. Chimiak, in Zeitgeschichte-online, July 2014. Available online at: http://www.zeitgeschichte-online.de/thema/polnische-reaktionen-auf-unsere-muetter-unsere-vaeter

“Falsification of History” (2013), published in: German History Intersections, <https://germanhistory-intersections.org/en/germanness/ghis:image-279> [November 29, 2023].