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Schevardo, Jennifer

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Hospodárske noviny - Slovakia | 03/12/2010

Jennifer Schevardo on hard work to improve German-Czech relations

On his recent visit to Prague the new German President Christian Wulff called the improved relations between Germany and the Czech Republic a "gift of history". But the comment falls short of the mark, writes the Berlin historian Jennifer Schevardo in a commentary for the business paper Hospodářské noviny: "The current harmony is no gift. ... The discussions about the historic conflicts between the two countries are being carried out in a far more conciliatory spirit than was ever the case in the past. A leading Sudeten German recently apologised in Lidice for the crimes of the Nazis. Soon a Bavarian premier will visit Prague for the first time since 1945. Discussion of the expulsions of Germans is more open than it has ever been in the Czech Republic. What we are seeing is the start of a very necessary process of dealing with the communist past. The Czechs are very reluctant to part with the idea that they have always been victims. ... If they are now doing so it's not thanks to some gift from above but the result of hard work on the part of politicians, historians and thousands of nameless Czechs and Germans."

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