'When language fails': 50 years ago Germany's Brandt knelt in Warsaw

Exactly 50 years ago, one of most remarkable gestures of post-war reconciliation happened in Warsaw: the German chancellor at the time, Willy Brandt, fell to his knees in front of the monument to Ghetto Heroes in the Polish capital. Brandt came to Warsaw in December 1970 to sign a treaty that would recognize Poland’s western border on the Oder and Neisse, a long-awaited development in Poland, which was then in the Soviet sphere of influence. The visit was a realization of Germany’s Ostpolitik, a new, more open approach to its eastern neighbours. After placing a wreath in front of the Ghetto He…

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