A Warning to Eastern Europe

From the August 2002 Trumpet Print Edition

Edmund Stoiber has become an advocate for the millions of Germans who were forced to leave their homes after World War ii. This may explain some of Stoiber’s growing public appeal: He is completely willing to challenge old injustices—a quality not found in a German leader in recent times.

The expulsion issue has been a passionate one for Stoiber because his wife and her family were forcibly removed from the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia after World War ii. While speaking to the East Prussia Congress on June 23, he said, “If the future prime minister of the Czech Republic says expulsion was an act of peace, then this is and remains unacceptable.”

Stoiber also called on Poland to overturn the laws that, after World War ii, expelled Germans from East Prussia, Pomerania, Silesia, and Danzig (now Gdansk, Poland). Over 80,000 people listened to Stoiber speak strong words concerning the perceived wrong that must be made right.

“Expulsion and ethnic cleansing must nowhere be part of the existing legal order,” Stoiber said, quoting a cdu paper. In a slightly threatening tone, he explained, “It is in Poland’s own self-interest to distance itself irrevocably and in a spirit of reconciliation from this aspect of the past.”

Stoiber is suggesting that Poland return land to German citizens, insisting that failing to recompense the Germans who were evicted from their homeland and stripped of their legal rights would violate the character and principles of the European Union and of international law. Hence the threat: Poland is among those nations seeking membership in the European Union. Stoiber’s implicit meaning is that a failure to appease Germany on this matter will be a black mark against its EU candidacy.

Is this an indication of the strongarm tactics Stoiber would use if elected as Europe’s most powerful politician this September?