Not a long time ago, many Poles haven’t imagined that the Poles could collaborate with the Germans in any area of life. Historical events over the centuries for example Partitions of Poland in 18th century, World War II, which broke out about 75 years ago caused that many Poles are very sceptical coming to the term „Polish – German cooperation”. Experiences of our ancestors meant that in the past there was a hatred of Poles to our close neighbour. When you ask an adult Pole, from what you associate with Germany, a lot of people won’t say about the artist Sebastian Bach, a poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe or an artist Ludwig van Beethoven. The first thought occurs – Hitler. Why? Because there was so much hatred to Polish nation (but especially Jews), which led to unimaginable destruction, not only construction but also mental. To this day, there are a lot of prejudice, hostility and hatred.
Nobody talks about the fact that many Germans were killed during the war by opposing Hitler. One example is the story of Sophie and Hans Scholl siblings, who belonged to a secret grouping „The White Rose”, which by distributing leaflets at the University of Munich for the content of the anti-Nazi and other activities to urging others to sabotage.
Researches from CBOS found that after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Poles speak so positively about the Germans. We can’t change the past, but stereotypes are slowly overturning.
Poles taste of German „Bratwurst, Bockwurst and Wiener”, the different types of sausages and German beer while the Germans are very satisfied with Polish „pierogi” and „bigos”. In Warsaw, there is one restaurant which import specifically sausage from Germany.
Also very evident is the desire for economic cooperation between the two countries. Poles have demonstrated a willingness to catch up with the economic level of our neighbor, as they show a willingness to cooperate on the ground. Entrance to the European Union meant that the Poles stopped feel „inferior”. The labour market in both countries is open to the neighbor, not treating him as someone with special conditions.
Collaboration between Poles and Germans is seen most frequently among young people. Now, there are foundations (such as the Polsko- Niemiecka Fundacja Młodzieży), as well as associations and institutes that offer scholarships such as the Poles GFPS – Gemeinschaft für studentischen Austausch in Mittel-und Osteuropa or DAAD – Deutsche Dienst Akademische Austausch with our western neighbor. The first association also offers scholarships for Germans in Poland. Learning the German language by the Poles is not unusual, but I’ve noticed and I was also shocked that the Germans want to learn Polish. Even two years ago, I had no idea that our Western neighbors have such an ambitious goal, to learn vocabulary, difficult Polish grammar, read books related to the history of Polish. Show enormous interest in language and cultural exchange by participating in a variety of cultural events, conferences and seminars organized by the above institutions.
In my opinion contacts on a personal level, that is meeting people, building relationships helps break any stereotypes, and may prove to be more valuable than the relationship at the political level. I believe that Polish – German friendship is possible, but it is a necessary to get rid all of prejudices. I think that it is worthwhile to engage in the international organizations life to experience that, what was not previously known.